September 15,2019

Panther Valley Ecumenical Church

50 years of Ecumenical Ministry Celebration

Mark Miller

Mark believes passionately that music can change the world. He also believes in Cornell West’s quote that ‘Justice is what love looks like in public.’ His dream is that the music he composes, performs, teaches and leads will inspire and empower people to create the beloved community.
Mark serves as Assistant Professor of Church Music at Drew Theological School and is a Lecturer in the Practice of Sacred Music at Yale University. He also is the Minister of Music of Christ Church in Summit, New Jersey.
Since 1999 Mark has led music for United Methodists and others around the country, including directing music for the 2008 General Conference. His choral anthems are best sellers for Abingdon Press and Choristers Guild and his hymns are published in “Worship & Song”, “Sing! Prayer and Praise”, “Zion Still Sings”, “Amazing Abundance”, “The Faith We Sing”, and others.
Mark received his Bachelor of Arts in Music from Yale University and his Master of Music in Organ Performance from Juilliard. Mark is a lifelong United Methodist. He is the grandson, son, brother, uncle, and cousin to United Methodist clergy.  As a lay delegate to the 2000 and 2004 and 2012 General Conferences, Mark was a witness to Christ’s mission of breaking down the dividing walls of hostility and fear in the United Methodist Church.
In 2019 the Panther Valley Ecumenical Church is observing its 50th year!
Our community strives to embody Jesus’ prayer that in our diversity we might all be one.   Our worship service creatively blends the traditions of the Episcopalian Church (USA), Presbyterian Church (USA), the United Methodist Church, and the United Church of Christ. 
Dear Beloved PVEC Community,
“Be still, be still and know that I am with you. By name I have called you, by name I will save you, by name you are mine, you are precious to me; by name I have called you, by name I will send you, forever with you I will be.”
These are the words that we sing when we baptize folks in our church.  The words are rooted in Psalm 46 and Isaiah 43. These two scriptures assure us that God’s love for us is a grace-filled and everlasting love and no matter what God will never let us go.
These are reassuring words in times such as these where it feels like there is so much division in our society, government, and religious denominations. Wherever there is division there is hurt, sadness, and breaking hearts. On Tuesday the United Methodist Church General Conference, the denomination’s governing body, voted to adopt legislation, known as the Traditional Plan, that maintains the prohibition of ordination and marriage of those who identify as LGBTIQ.    This legislation passed by a narrow margin and with that it has created division within the denomination and has sent a message of non-inclusivity. The United Methodist church is finding itself in a time of reformation. The UMC believes that God has a mission in the world and the heart of that mission is love. The ways that that love is expressed is at the heart of their division. Here is a response from the Bishop of the Greater New Jersey Conference.
We at PVEC strive to make God’s love visible in the world. We remind ourselves that in our diversity we find common ground in Christ. And in Christ we are God’s beloved children. Our guiding scripture is John 17:20-23 where we hear Jesus pray that we may experience such perfect unity that the world will know that God sent Jesus and that God loves us as much as God loves Jesus. At PVEC we strive to embody Jesus’ prayer, “that all may be one.”
I invite you to pray for the United Methodist Church as they begin an uncharted journey. It feels a lot like a wilderness journey and the synchronicity of this happening just before we begin our Lenten Journey towards the cross and new life invites us to pay attention to how God will be made visible. Let us rest assured that God is with all who are embarking on this journey. As the Hymn of Promise (UMC Hymnal #707) declares; “In the bulb there is a flower, in the seed an apple tree, in cocoons a hidden promise: butterflies will soon be free! In the cold and snow of winter there’s a spring that waits to be, unrevealed until its season, something God alone can see.”  Our God is a loving God always making things new. We can trust this because of the suffering, death and resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus the Christ.
If you have any questions or just need to talk please feel free to call, text, or email me!
Know that God has called you, sent you, and will always be with you. Know that you are a beloved child of God! May the deep peace of Christ be with you this day,
Pastor Ninabeth
We are seeking a part-time Organist/Music Director 
For more information on this opportunity please click on this link: Panther Valley Ecumenical church Organist music director ad
Visit Pastor Ninabeth’s Blog