Scottish Pastor Comes to Willow Grove Church

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The Willow Grove Church is excited to welcome Rev. James Watson who is bringing his Scottish brogue, love for Celtic traditions, and enthusiasm for preaching to the congregation of Willow Grove Presbyterian Church in Scotch Plains for the summer.  A retired Church of Scotland pastor, Rev. Watson will lead Willow Grove Church while the pastor, The Rev. Cynthia Cochran-Carney, goes on sabbatical until September.

Beginning today, June 10, he will lead the 10 a.m. Sunday worship service at Willow Grove Presbyterian Church, incorporating Celtic poetry and Scottish hymns into the service.  His sermons will address a variety of topics and scripture passages.  After worship, he will lead a series of Adult Forum classes that will focus on "Things and Places Scottish."  Adult forum classes will take place in the air conditioned Alexander Hall at 11:30 a.m. every Sunday. 

These will include reminiscences of James’ life as a parish minister in Scotland, how his faith has been shaped by Celtic Tradition, particularly during his stay at the Island of Iona; and touch on his early life in the East End of Glasgow.  Those wishing to hear more of Scottish roots, life in Scotland and the nature of The Church of Scotland are most welcome to attend worship services and/or these classes.

Rev. Watson will also be leading Bible Studies on Wednesdays at 7:30 p.m. and repeated on Thursdays at 10 a.m.  His “Decisions for Living” discussion series begins on June 6 & 7 with the question, “Why is God silent?”  The next week we will examine “Hard and Painful Decisions” beginning with a quote from C.S. Lewis, “We are not necessarily doubting that God will do the best for us, we are wondering how painful the best will turn out to be.”  Then in “God’s Unique Plan”, Rev. Watson will help us see that much of God’s will for our lives is discovered as we use our bodies and minds as God created them to be used.  “The Anatomy of a Wise Decision” will provide factors that make for a wise decision.  On Thursday, July 5, we will discuss why we should “Keep on Praying”.  The last three sessions will include discussions of “Good Advice”, “How does God speak to us?” and “Worry-Free Decisions”.  While the topics in this series are related, you may choose to attend on certain weeks and each class will be independent of the others.  All discussions will be in our comfortable, air-conditioned church lounge on the second floor.  For schedules and more information on the Bible Studies and Adult Forums, please visit Willow Grove Church’s website at http://www.willowgrovechurch.org.

This program of "A Summer Celtic Holy Adventure" is made possible by a Clergy Renewal Grant from the Lilly Endowment.  It provides funding for Rev. Cochran-Carney to take a sabbatical and travel to Scotland, and for Rev. Watson to be the summer guest pastor for Willow Grove.  To learn more about Rev. Watson, please visit his blog at http://pastorjameswillowgrove.wordpress.com.  The public is invited to attend all events, studies and worship services.

Willow Grove Presbyterian Church (PCUSA) is at 1961 Raritan Road, off Martine Avenue across from the Scotch Plains Southside Firehouse and soccer field.  The building and facilities are handicap-accessible.  To learn more about the Lilly grant, see www.lillyendowment.org.




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