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Pastors’ Message


A Message to the Congregation

Pastor Update, Letter 40


August 21, 2023

Dear Members and Friends of First Presbyterian Church:

Most of you know that my father, Philip Spencer, died in June. While my family and I continue to grieve the loss of this great man from our lives, we hold many memories that bring us smiles and laughter, and a deepening gratitude for my father’s life.
My father left behind a legacy. He started working on it decades before his death. In 2004, my parents created a thorough and well-organized estate. They left my brothers and me with a clear advanced directive and understandable directions for their memorial services that guided us after their deaths. My Dad’s legacy made life easier for me and ensured that the gift of his life will last for a long time to come.
I think of the September 12th Fund as a legacy awaiting our action. The September 12th Fund serves as a long-term endowment for our church. Financial contributions to the fund are held and invested for the care and protection of our church. A designated portion of the earnings is distributed each year for current church needs.
It is the invested gifts, given cheerfully by many members and friends in the past, that have grown over time to create financial stability for FPC Moorestown, even in uncertain times. It is our gifts that will provide that same stability for future generations to weather the storms that will come.
There is no better way to protect the future and make a lasting difference financially for our beloved First Presbyterian Church of Moorestown.
So, in this our 135nd year, please consider a gift of $13.50, $135.00, $1,350 or $13,500. Enclosed is a pre-addressed envelope for your convenience. You may also give ONLINE or through the Church Center app.
THANK YOU for the many ways you continue to be generous. I know that God will use the open-handedness of your gift to build a Kingdom legacy for FPC Moorestown. I’m so blessed by you and I thank God because I’m certain you’ll continue to rejoice as you give!
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Stuart Spencer, Pastor

Pastors Spencer and Allen have shared uplifting and heartfelt messages with us. Please read past letters below.

Pastor Update, Letter 39


Dear Members and Friends of FPC Moorestown,
Those who mourn are sometimes surprised to discover that they are comforted and therefore, they are blessed. My family and I have found this blessing in the days since my father and father-in-law died.
Pastor Update, Letter 38


Dear Members and Friends of FPC Moorestown:
I can’t wait to worship with you on Easter Sunday morning. For nearly two thousand years, the Church has woken early every Easter for a single reason … to Rejoice! God won the ultimate victory over sin, failure and death and the Church loudly praises God in response. In just a few days, we’ll celebrate together the truth that Jesus lives. He will meet us, as he met the women and the disciples on the first Easter.
Pastor Update, Letter 37


Dear Friends,
With 2023 underway, we are preparing to pay our denomination’s per capita apportionment and ask for your help. Members pay this per capita, in addition to one’s annual gift, recognizing that the Presbyterian Church (PCUSA) is a connectional church and we are part of a larger family throughout the state and the country with Presbyteries, Synods, and General Assembly. Our 2023 per capita offering remains $38.75 per member.
Pastor Update, Letter 36


Dear Members and Friends of FPC Moorestown,
One of my Advent traditions is to take a small book from a shelf in my study called, The Mystery of the Holy Night. The book features classic paintings depicting the events surrounding the birth of Jesus, with excerpts from the writings of Dietrich Bonhoeffer. He was a German pastor and theologian who was imprisoned for his resistance to Adolf Hitler and the Nazi regime. Bonhoeffer was executed just days before the end of the war.
Pastor Update, Letter 35


Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
I have a slackline set up in our back yard (see photo right). Slacklining is a sport and an art that can be used for balance training, recreation, or even a moving meditation. It’s similar to tightrope walking, and is accomplished by stretching a 1 to 2-inch wide length of nylon/polyester webbing between two anchor points, most often trees. The second picture features a handsome young man named Izzy. He’s my niece Katie’s boyfriend and a slackline pro.   DOWNLOAD PASTOR’S LETTER…
Pastor Update, Letter 34


Dear Members and Friends of First Presbyterian Church of Moorestown,
There’s been a lot of talk about giving around here since Labor Day. Rev. Allen and I have preached on the biblical basis for building a giving life. We’ve learned that God made us to give. We’ll be at our strongest and healthiest—spiritually, mentally, emotionally and physically, when we live to give. Our preaching, our study and our prayer are all leading us to two significant Sundays in October. The first is Consecration Sunday on October 16. The second is The Church Has Left the Building on Sunday, October 30.  DOWNLOAD PASTOR’S LETTER…
Pastor Update, Letter 33


Dear Members and Friends of First Presbyterian Church:
Way #16 of our 25 Ways offers a beautiful invitation to us: GIVE CHEERFULLY. Rejoice, you get to give! Think of giving as a privilege rather than an obligation, a joy instead of a burden. As you consider all that’s been entrusted to you—time, abilities and money – ask, “How is God calling me to share what I’ve been given?”      DOWNLOAD PASTOR’S LETTER… 
Pastor Update, Coronavirus Letter 32


Dear Members and Friends of FPC Moorestown:
This verse leapt from the pages of Deuteronomy the way passages sometimes do. I attribute such impactful moments to the Holy Spirit giving me what I need to hear, precisely when I need to hear it. This was what I read one morning during my devotionals a few weeks ago. Moses was the speaker of these words. He directed them to Joshua, his younger assistant and the next leader of the God’s people. The two men stood looking into a land promised by God. It was a beautiful place to live but many challenges awaited Joshua. 
Pastor Update, Coronavirus Letter 31


A member of Session asked me, “Can I tell the Pastor that I’m sick of COVID?” Yes, I answered, you sure can, because I am too. I’m done with it, as I’m sure most of us are. However, COVID isn’t done with us yet.
Pastor Update, Coronavirus Letter 30


Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth! Serve the LORD with gladness! Come into his presence with singing!  – Psalm 100:1-2 (NRSV)
Dear Members and Friends of FPC Moorestown,
Each week we gather as Presbyterians in the Sanctuary, Miller Commons and via live stream to give “all glory and honor, praise and thanksgiving to the holy triune God” (W-1.0101).    DOWNLOAD PASTOR’S LETTER… 
Pastor Update, Coronavirus Letter 29



Today, we watch with the world the unsettling events taking place in Ukraine. The world is right to be shocked and concerned with what appears to be the opening of a ground war, launched by Russia.
COVID Letter 2-25-22Pastor Update, Coronavirus Letter 28


Dear Members and Friends of FPC Moorestown,
COVID has come home for many in our community and our congregation. The virus visited me on New Year’s Day. That morning I first thought I was getting a cold—my first since the start of the pandemic. I googled my symptoms and then took a home test that revealed a positive score. I got it. I’m grateful that I never felt awful other than a mildly painful sore throat. I probably infected our youngest son, Miles. Thankfully, Leslie and Sam have so far escaped. I know that many of you have your own stories.   DOWNLOAD PASTOR’S LETTER…   
Pastor Update, Coronavirus Letter 27


Dear Members and Friends of FPC Moorestown,
In the Sundays of this Advent season, we’re reflecting on the spiritual practice of waiting. We each have our own waiting stories — often such stories are personal and painful. We’re waiting together for this pandemic to end. We’re waiting for a day when we won’t have to think about masking and distancing. We long for a time when life doesn’t feel so weighted with worries.
Pastor Update, Coronavirus Letter 26


Dear Members and Friends of FPC Moorestown,
Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Glory belongs to him both now and forever. Amen. (2 Peter 3: 18, NIVR)
These are the last words of the book of 2 Peter, and the final recorded words of the great Apostle. As we near the end of 2021, I look back over a wonderful but at times a challenging twelve months with deep gratitude for the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Peter’s benediction is both a call to continue to nurture our understanding and experience of these gifts while also recounting how both have held and guided us through life and this year.  DOWNLOAD PASTOR’S LETTER…   
Pastor Update, Coronavirus Letter 25


Dear Members and Friends of First Presbyterian Church of Moorestown:
N.T. Wright, the gifted Bible scholar and author once wrote of the Lord’s Prayer, “Jesus’ resurrection is the beginning of God’s new project not to snatch people away from earth to heaven, but to colonize earth with the life of heaven. That, after all, is what the Lord’s Prayer is about.” His insightful words give me a new way to think and pray about the priorities of God contained in the short lines of the Lord’s Prayer.
Pastor Update, Coronavirus Letter 24


9:30 am Blended Worship for three special Sundays

Dear Members and Friends of FPC Moorestown,The word “church” in the Greek of the New Testament means a gathering of God’s people in a specific space, like Rome, Corinth or Philippi. John Leeman is a writer who recently wrote about the significance of this simple act we do on Sunday mornings.

Pastor Update, Coronavirus Letter 23


Dear Members and Friends of FPC Moorestown:
On this gorgeous morning, two days after heavy storms battered our region, I bring you an update. I’m always amazed how a fierce downpour often clears the air and results in a string of lovely weather. I pray that the storms we’re facing together may soon bring the beauty of God’s purposes.
Pastor Update, Coronavirus Letter 22


Dear Members and Friends of First Presbyterian Church:
Let’s go back twenty years to three days in September 2001 that changed everything. I refer to September 10, September 11, and September 12, 2001.
Pastor Update, Coronavirus Letter 21


Dear Members and Friends of First Presbyterian Church of Moorestown,
After nearly 30 months of a nationwide search, our Associate Pastor Nominating Committee (APNC) gratefully presents a candidate who lives exactly one mile from the front doors of our sanctuary. A brief glance at the enclosed brochure tells you that the Spirit of God faithfully and wonderfully answered our prayers
Pastor Update, Coronavirus Letter 20
Dear Members and Friends of FPC Moorestown,
Right at this point in June, in the longest days of the year and summer nearly arrived; I fondly remember playing outside as a child with the kids of my neighborhood. My favorite game was Kick the Can, the reverse of Hide and Go Seek. One kid guarded an old tin coffee can while the rest of us hid by the houses, trees and shrubs of our neighborhood.
Pastor Update, Coronavirus Letter 19


Dear Members and Friends of FPC Moorestown,
There’s reason for realistic hope that our nation is emerging from the COVID-19 pandemic. The CDC and the State of New Jersey are loosening requirements for public gatherings. The rate of those who have received a vaccine is increasing while the rate of infection is declining. Signs requiring masks in stores are quickly vanishing. Families and friends gather now more easily and with less worry.
Pastor Update, Coronavirus Letter 18


Dear Members and Friends of FPC Moorestown,
This coming Sunday is Pentecost Sunday. For close to 2,000 years, the day of Pentecost stands as one of the most significant days of the year. It marks the historic outpouring of the promised Spirit of God upon God’s people. That miracle still happens today. I hope you’ll worship with us on Sunday, either in person or via live stream.
Pastor Update, Coronavirus Letter 17


Dear Members and Friends of FPC Moorestown,
I borrow and paraphrase a line from A. A. Milne, author of Winnie the Pooh, “How lucky I am to have [someone] that makes saying goodbye so hard.” How lucky, how fortunate, how blessed I am and we are to have someone like Kelly LePenske. She makes saying goodbye so hard. Stuart Spencer, Pastor  
Pastor Update, Coronavirus Letter 16

One Year Later – We’ve Come a Long Way

March 12, 2021
Dear Member and Friends of FPC Moorestown,
The world changed almost a year ago exactly. Do you remember where you were? I recall how quickly everything shut down in the middle of March of 2020. Since then, we’ve all had to adjust to new ways of working, going to school, shopping, and attending worship.   
Pastor Update, Coronavirus Letter 14
Christmas Eve schedule offers meaningful, safe worship opportunities
December 18, 2020
Dear Members and Friends of FPC Moorestown,
Planning for Christmas Eve in the middle of a pandemic, like nearly everything else we’ve faced this year, isn’t easy. Consider that Christmas Eve is the night when everyone goes to church. Not this year. Most churches are planning for pre-recorded or live stream services with no in-person participants.
Pastor Update, Coronavirus Letter 12
It will be a wonderfully powerful moment when we’re gathered together. Safely.
October 30, 2020
Dear Members and Friends of FPC Moorestown,
Someone at some time taught you how to go to church. Most likely, your parents were the ones who showed you the ropes READ MORE…
Pastor Update, Coronavirus Letter 11
Session Approves Indoor Worship to Begin November 1; Limited Indoor Gatherings
October 16, 2020  
Dear Members and Friends of FPC Moorestown,

“When they said, ‘Let’s go to the house of God,’ my heart leaped for joy. And now we’re here …” (Psalm 122: 1)

As of last Sunday, it’s been 34 weeks since we’ve gathered indoors for worship. That’s well over a half a year. For some of us, it’s felt like forever.   READ MORE…


Pastor Update, Coronavirus Letter 10
Joan Van Camp Porch
October 4, 2020
Dear Members and Friends of FPC Moorestown,
I’m delighted to share with you the opening of the Joan Van Camp Porch. Joan, a long time faithful member of our church, left a generous gift to the church last year.
Pastor Update
Fall Kickoff and Ministry Fair
September 11, 2020
Dear Members and Friends of FPC Moorestown,
Once a group of maintenance workers at a state park had grown upset with the park management. Management was dissatisfied with how the workers were cleaning the camp sites after campers left for home.
Pastor Update
Session Approves Recommendation for Outdoor Worship Gathering
July 31, 2020


Dear Members and Friends of FPC Moorestown,

For months, I’ve carried a vision in my mind of a time when we can return to our sanctuary and Miller Commons to worship God together.  READ MORE…

Pastor Update

“We’ll leave the light on for you … “
July 3, 2020

Dear Members or Friends of FPC Moorestown,
You may remember the old ad from Motel 6: We’ll leave the light on for you. A light left on is a silent sign of welcome and care — at a hotel, home, or a church. A light on means that you’re in someone’s mind and heart. READ MORE…
Pastor Update
May 29, 2020
Dear Beloved Members and Friends of FPC Moorestown,
It feels like forever since I last saw you in person. I carry you in my heart and I lift you before the Lord in prayer.   READ MORE…
Pastor Update
May 8, 2020
Dear Members and Friends of FPC Moorestown,
“Since you excel in so many ways—in your faith, your gifted speakers, your knowledge, your enthusiasm, and your love from us—I want you to excel also in this gracious act of giving.” (2 Corinthians 8: 7)   READ MORE…
Pastor Update
Friday, April 24, 2020
“And now the word of the Lord is ringing out …”
Dear Members and Friends of FPC Moorestown:
A blessed and joyous Easter to you! If you’ve forgotten that we’re still in the season of Easter, then allow me to remind you. In reflecting on this season, author Joan Chittister writes,
Pastor Update
Thursday, April 2, 2020
Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,  As we prepare for a Holy Week unlike any other we’ve experienced, I want to share a wonderful observation from The Rev. Dr. Emily C. Heath. She noted, “The first Easter didn’t happen at a church. It happened outside an empty tomb, while all the disciples were sequestered at home, grief-stricken and wondering what was going on. So, we’re going to be keeping things pretty Biblical this Easter.”  READ MORE…
Pastor Update
Wednesday, April 1, 2020
91 x 91: Praying Psalm 91 for 91 days
As one of our partners, and in light of the COVID-19 pandemic that is hitting all of us, and may wreak havoc in the urban poor communities where we serve[1], we would love to invite you and those in the Moorestown Presbyterian Church Community that you think would be interested, to join us in a prayer campaign that we´ve named “91×91”.  READ MORE…
Pastor Update
Wednesday, March 18, 2020
As so many of the letters written to the early church begin, “Grace and peace to you from the Lord Jesus Christ!” Now that life has shifted so suddenly and with such uncertainty, we’re seeking the Lord as we haven’t sought him before. I’m grateful for the opportunity to trust God more deeply, serve God more energetically and live for God with greater love and joy.  READ MORE..
Pastor Update
Friday, March 13, 2020

Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
As you know, the coronavirus (COVID-19) is a highly contagious flu-like virus that is spreading rapidly throughout the world and the United States. While the risk of becoming seriously ill or dying from the virus is very low, for some people — especially the elderly and those who are already fragile — it is potentially deadly. READ MORE…