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Sermons + Media
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The Rev. Catherine Dodson Goodrich   |   April 6, 2014   |   John 11 Selected Verses

While I was pregnant, I tried to do things I didn’t think would be possible for a while once the baby came.  One night, I drove in the driving rain to the Tara theatre.  I sat in the cool dark by myself, ate buttered popcorn, and watched a chick flick called About Time.  The movie is about a young twentysomething named Tim who learns that the men in his family have the miraculous ability to travel in time.  Tim is able to rewind, to re-do, re-experience – he simply closes his eyes, remembers the moment he wants to return to, and poof!  He’s there!  He can have as many chances to live each day as he wants!  Who hasn’t wanted that?  To be able to reverse bad choices!  Re-take a test!  Fix mistakes - like the new “unsend” button in my gmail box, writ large. Read full sermon in PDF format >>

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The Rev. Margaret Aymer   |   March 31, 2014   |   John 9:1-41

It was probably an ordinary day. He had gotten up, pulled together what few things he had, found his begging bowl, and started to do what he did every day—sit and beg. He was known by his neighbors as the one who sits and begs. He was generally unknown by name or by condition to the religious authorities, to those who regulated the holiness of the people, to the gatekeepers of the gathering of the people of God. We do not know his name or almost anything else about him. He was unremarkable—just another poor beggar, blind from birth, of no use to his parents or community. Read full sermon in PDF format >>

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What's on Your Sign?

The Rev. Anthony Damelio   |   March 16, 2014   |   John 3:1-21

So, at the first Braves game I attend this year, I’m planning to bring and hold up this sign…

[hold up sign that says “John 3:16”] So, who wants to come with me to that game!?

No one!? I’ve got an open seat right next to me.

Wait, you don’t carry one of these around in the trunk of your car and bring it out for your kid’s soccer games or at the symphony concert or local theater?

Well, why not? Don’t you believe in Jesus enough to display this passage prominently?  Read the full sermon in PDF format>>

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The Tempter's Tale

The Rev. Gary W. Charles   |   March 9, 2014   |   Matthew 4:1-11

So many religious habits begin in childhood. That is probably one reason why my Lenten practices are not fully formed. In my household, Lent was a strange holiday observed by Episcopalians and Catholics that usually involved giving up something essential to life like TV or chocolate. I did not face these Lenten challenges as a child, because I was a plain ole Presbyterian and Presbyterians did not do Lent.  Read the full sermon in PDF format >>

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The Rev. Theresa Cho, Guest Preacher   |   February 23, 2014   |   John 4:1-42


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The Rev. Gary W. Charles   |  February 16, 2014   |   Matthew 5:13-20

Welcome to Synergy Presbyterian Church. For over 155 years, this community has been known as Central Presbyterian Church, but on this 156th birthday Sunday, it’s time to blow out the last candle on Central and to inaugurate Synergy Church. Due to the snow and ice storm, we weren’t able to fill the room with balloons this morning, but rest assured, they will be in place next Sunday.  Read the full sermon in PDF format >>

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The Wisdom of Christ

The Rev. Michelle Hwang   |   February 9, 2014   |   Matthew 5:13 - 20

In this letter to the Corinthians, Paul is confusing. At first glance he seems to be making distinctions and suggesting that there is a secret wisdom reserved for those who are mature. This is perplexing because earlier Paul proclaimed that only the cross was his message. What’s going on? Perhaps as scholar Richard Hayes proposes, Paul’s shift in tone in this chapter is his use of irony. “Paul is adopting some of the Corinthians’ religious vocabulary in order to beat them at their own game and at the same time to show how ridiculous the game is.” For Paul it is always about the cross.  Read the full sermon in PDF format >>

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Micah's Beatitudes

The Rev. Gary W. Charles   |  February 2, 2014   |   Micah 6:1-8

Wherever I have lived, someone eventually decides that the state Capitol needs a large display of the Ten Commandments. Others rise up in a fury about violating the constitutional separation between church and state. Typically, it does not deter the most religiously zealous who insist that God ten words to Moses should be displayed for everyone to see, religious or not.  Read the full sermon in PDF format >>

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The Rev. Gary W. Charles   |   January 19, 2014   |   John 1:29-42

Like a madman let loose in public, John the Baptist spots Jesus and shouts:  “Here is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.” I wonder how long it was before someone called the police to haul John off, give him some psychotropic drugs, and stash him in a quiet cell.   

I wonder if I would spot Jesus if I saw him today.   Read the full sermon in PDF format >>

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The Rev. Gary W. Charles   |   January 12, 2014   |   Isaiah 42:1-9

Two groups of people first hear the Servant Song from Isaiah 42. One group remains in Judah after the Babylonians have torched Jerusalem and hauled many of the healthiest and most capable Judeans into exile.  Read the full sermon in PDF format >>

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Uncommon Vision

The Rev. Jane Fahey   |   December 8, 2013   |   Isaiah 11:1-10

The older I get, the more prone I am to weep at Isaiah’s glorious vision.  No longer will parents have to worry about children becoming victims of random shootings at school or the mall.  No more worry about children being lured by internet predators.  No more will wealthy, powerful businesses devour little ones in a world of unchecked competition.  “They will not hurt or destroy on all my holy mountain,” says the Lord.  Oh, how I long for that kind of world!  Read the full sermon in PDF format >>

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Listen to the anthem, The Dream Isaiah Saw >>


The Rev. Gary W. Charles   |   December 1, 2013   |   Matthew 24:36-44

Another Thanksgiving has passed and another Advent has arrived. I hope everyone has put up their apocalyptic Advent calendars. Careful which little door you invite your children to open. Some come with “For Mature Adults Only” warnings.  And for good reason!

Despite the lowly crèches in the sanctuary windows, on the first Sunday of Advent you will find no lowly shepherds or choirs of angels, no babe in a manger and no Mary pondering things in her heart. On this Sunday, we do look back but not to Bethlehem. We look back to the days of Noah, when destruction came and no one saw it coming. And we look ahead, but not to Easter. We look ahead to God’s time when there will be no more time. No wonder so many Christians skip Advent and so many onlookers chalk up talk about Jesus coming a second time as religious silliness.  Read the full sermon in PDF format >>

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El Señor

The Rev. Anthony Damelio   |   November 24, 2013   |   Luke 9:1-6 and Exodus 3:13-20

So, what’s the power in a name? These strange words affixed to us at birth or chosen later in life are very significant. Often, they were chosen for a specific reason by adults or ourselves, and we typically find identity in our names. In addition to their meaning for us, names certainly communicate a lot to other people, including what our gender might be, what type of family we come from, what our background is.

Think for a second, why are you named the way you are? What does your name say about you?  Read the full sermon in PDF format >>

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To Fear Nothing but the Loss of You

The Rev. Gary W. Charles   |   November 17, 2013   |   Luke 21:5-19

At the close of Gail Godwin’s novel, Evensong, Margaret, an aging Episcopal priest, writes: “Please accept with all my love this inner and outer chronicle . . . when so many things were on their way to us, things we neither anticipated nor, in some cases, ever could have imagined. This is the story of how we met them and were changed by them. May we continue to meet what is coming to us with courage of heart. Read the full sermon in PDF format >>

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Building Courage
The Rev. Catherine Dodson Goodrich   |   November 10, 2013   |   Haggai 2:1-9

Imagine this: A homecoming.  After a generation in exile and rule by the iron fist of Babylon, a remnant of the children of Israel return to the land which was promised to them.  Except the land is not quite as they’d left it.  Their foes and the passing years have reduced their homes and places of worship to rubble, and now they must begin again.  They start by attempting to rebuild the temple, which was the center of their religious life before the exile, and the symbol of God’s presence among them. Read the full sermon in PDF format >>

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The Rev. Gary W. Charles   |   November 3, 2013   |   Luke 19:1-10

Luke tells us four relevant facts about Zacchaeus. The first fact is about his name; Zacchaeus is from the Hebrew zakkai, meaning “pure” or “innocent.” The next fact is that Zacchaeus was a “chief tax collector,” meaning that Zacchaeus did not live into his name; he was neither pure nor innocent. Luke then tells us that Zacchaeus was short, necessitating climbing and nestling in a nearby tree to get a good sightline on Jesus. Finally, Luke tells us that this short, chief tax collector, with a bird’s eye view of Jesus was rich, filthy rich.  Read the full sermon in PDF >>

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The Ordained Club

The Rev. Gary W. Charles   |   October 27, 2013   |   Luke 18:10-14

I wonder if Jesus had a day just like today in mind when he told the parable of the Pharisee and the Publican. There is no question which of the two men, the Pharisee or the Publican, that Jesus had been taught to admire since childhood – the Pharisee. The Pharisee never missed church. He was the first person to make his pledge and it was at least a tithe and he did so on-line. The Pharisee never forgot to pray before a meal or when the day began or came to a close. He was just the kind of person that every parent prays that their child will marry.  Read the full sermon in PDF >>

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When We See

Sally Ann McKinsey Sisk   |   October 13, 2013   |   Luke 17:11-20

“The other nine, where are they?” Jesus’ question rings in my ears, because I think I know where the other nine went.

                When they approach him they are sure that this Jesus, their master, will be able to heal them, free them into society, and return them to their families. When Jesus tells them to go to the priests, they go, knowing that they will have a reason to show themselves to the priests once they got there. And they are right. As they go, they are made clean. They hear the call of God and obey, in perfect faith.

“The other nine, where are they? Were none found to return and give glory to God except this alien?” Read full sermon in PDF format >>

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A Letter to Central

The Rev. Gary W. Charles   |   October 6, 2013   |  II Timothy 1:1-14

Whether written by the Apostle Paul or one of his disciples, II Timothy is a deeply personal love letter. It opens: “To Timothy, my beloved child.” More than anything else, though, II Timothy is a stewardship letter. Paul urges Timothy to: “Hold to the standard of sound teaching that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. Guard the good treasure entrusted to you, with the help of the Holy Spirit living in us.”  Read full sermon in PDF format >>

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