Got Church? Who we are NOT – Concord-St. Andrews UMC (CSA)

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Christianity sometimes gets a bad rap.  Clergy behaving badly. Churches who hate one group or another. But what is reality?

EVERYONE BELIEVES THE SAME THING (NOT)

Jesus Christ is divine (God on earth).  Other than this we disagree on basic things such as baptism, communion, and worship style. The Christian faith is very diverse. We come from a different set of beliefs based on geographical origin, tradition, family background, and theological understandings. Conformity to one set of beliefs, even within a church, is not common.

At CSA we believe in infant baptism, open communion to all present served on the first Sunday of the month, the practice of Lent, Advent, Palm Sunday, Easter and Christmas. While we mostly have a structured worship service with piano and organ music, we also have other instrumentalists, soloists, and choir. Our worship would be considered ‘traditional’ and ‘liturgical’ (following a structure).

IT IS POLITICAL (NOT)

Many Christians are deeply involved in politics and use their faith as a guide to make decisions about political agendas, but Christianity is about following God. God does not favor Republicans, Democrats, or Independents. Christianity is bigger than politics.

IT IS ANTI-SCIENCE (NOT)

Christianity is often seen as being anti-science, anti-academic, and anti-intellectual. The reality is that most Christians at CSA embrace science.

At CSA you will find research scientists and engineers along with lawyers, doctors, and other professionals. We also have many other workers across the socioeconomic spectrum.  You don’t need to leave your brain at the door.  We embrace knowledge, critical thinking, innovation, new ideas, and the truths they reveal. Charles Wesley, a cofounder of Methodism, said “Unite the pair so long disjoined, knowledge and vital piety: learning and holiness combined.”

IT’S ALWAYS FUN AND HAPPY (NOT)

Christianity can be full of joy, but if engaged actively, is very challenging.

Following Christ demands sacrifice. It involves giving, helping, volunteering, and participating in challenging work. The primary belief of loving others (without exception) is hard. The Christian life is often filled with pain, suffering, and struggles—requiring forgiveness, patience, and effort. It’s incredibly demanding but there is satisfaction, peace, comfort, and eternal rewards.

 
IT SOLVES ALL YOUR PROBLEMS (NOT)

Christianity is not magic. It’s not meant to be a quick-fix to everything that’s wrong in your life.

Following Jesus means embracing the hardships of humanity and struggling, empathizing, supporting, and helping those who are sick, weak, poor, abandoned, and forsaken. In many ways being a Christian causes more problems than it solves—but the hope and promises of Jesus strengthen us for the journey.

IT CAUSES PROSPERITY (NOT)

Becoming a Christian doesn’t guarantee financial, relational, physical, intellectual, emotional, or professional gain. If you’re looking for prosperity, fame, fortune, or glory, move along.

WE ARE MORALLY SUPERIOR (NOPE)

Christians are sinners just like everybody else. If you are expecting a perfect utopian environment of honesty, generosity, kindness, respect, and inclusive love from everyone you encounter in the church, prepare to be disappointed.

Becoming a Christian does not make you any better or more valuable than anyone else. It does not make you judge and jury in condemning others. Jesus says being one of His followers requires humility.

ABOUT CONCORD-ST. ANDREWS (5910 Goldsboro Rd, Bethesda 301-229-3383, www.csachurch.com)

One of the greatest strengths of this congregation is in its diversity in culture, national origin, income, education, work background, and beliefs. While mostly ‘moderate’ we have many ‘liberal’ and ‘conservative’ church members. Why is this? Because God is for everyone. Our faith in Jesus Christ transcends culture and politics.  We care for one another. We believe in one another. Love transcends our differences.

Our worship services are liturgical – meaning they follow a plan that has been laid out for thousands of years. This includes prayers, reading of Scriptures, a sermon, and music. Our music is meant to be sung by everyone and our songs, also called hymns, have in-depth meaning and purpose in the lyrics. The worship plan integrates all elements into one cohesive worship experience – the hymns support the readings and prayers which support the sermon.

Located at the corner of River Rd. and Goldsboro Rd. in Bethesda, we welcome you to join in our worship and church life.

ABOUT REV. CURTIS EHRGOTT (pastorcurtise@gmail.com, 410-207-4725 cell/text)

Pastor Curtis, as he likes to be called, entered ministry in 2001 and started serving Concord-St.Andrews in 2018. Prior to 2001 he was a management consultant (Accenture, McKinsey) and information technology executive (Thomson Publishing, Orbit Capital) in the NYC-metro area.

Some of his most joyful moments in ministry have come from mentoring and leading youth, helping the homeless transition to gainful employment and housing, and healing broken relationships. He believes that through God all things are possible (but usually not easy).

He married his wife Susan in 1987 and has two wonderful children – Emily and Christian – and one grandchild – Elah. And yes, you guessed it – Elah is the name of the valley where David slew Goliath.