Archive for the ‘About Pastor Matt’ Category

I am excited that I was asked by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and the ONE Campaign to contribute a preaching resource to be distributed nationally by the ELCA and ONE in preparation for “Lazarus Sunday”, an advocacy event that will take place on April 10, 2011.  Christine Merkel-Nessel provided liturgical resources and I engaged the task of preaching.

What does the message of Jesus have to say about the global HIV/AIDS Pandemic? As a people entrusted with the treasure of the Gospel, how will the church carry out our mission in a 21stcentury world where millions continue to die, especially among the poor, because of a disease that is both preventable and treatable? Clearly, the response must be more than a sermon. At the same time, faithful proclamation that connects the gospel of Jesus Christ to these critical questions is an absolute necessity.

Faced with the reality of the HIV/AIDS pandemic, it is critical that proclamation of the gospel include an intentional effort to increase awareness and inspire advocacy. Preaching must not shy away from both the facts about HIV/AIDS and the stories of lives impacted.

See my “Lazarus Sunday” resources at

Download the worship materials from


An original song I wrote as a “video Christmas card” in 2010.

Come to Us, Emmanuel

Here we are, mid-December
Trying our hardest to remember
What it is we’re celebrating here

The days are short, the darkness lengthens
So we cling to the promise that strengthens
That in this place our God has come near

Come to us, come to us Emmanuel

Angels singing, “To God the glory”
As we enter into the story
And meet the savior Jesus at his birth

Shepherds run to the place where
The baby lies in the hay there
And the word of God resides on earth

Come to us, come to us Emmanuel
Come to us, abide with us Emmanuel

We long for peace
in the midst of violence
While hope is shattered by
our lingering silence
Justice will be torn from the hands of the weak
Unless a loving voice finds the courage to speak

And says
Come to us, come to us Emmanuel
Come to us, make us one Emmanuel
Make us peace, make us one Emmanuel

Come to us, come to us Emmanuel

I have truly enjoyed serving as an adult advisor/member of the SEPA Synod LYO Board since 2008.  My participation in this board has convinced me that the SEPA Synod is at the forefront of youth ministry within the ELCA.  I have watched board members become young adults that remain active in congregations and synod ministries while younger teens have matured and discovered their own gifts for ministry.  Some of the what I have learned during my time with the LYO Board includes:

  • Young people are passionate about serving Jesus in the real world
  • Teens will thrive when given opportunities to lead and are taken seriously
  • Youth may be “the future of the church”, but they are also the church today!
  • Today’s youth are passionate about showing God’s love in real ways
  • Youth ministry truly thrives when it becomes youth doing minsitry

ONE Volunteers and new members at the 2010 SEPA Synod assembly

I had the opportunity to take the ONE Campaign’s message to the 2010 SEPA Synod assembly.  In addition to recruiting new ONE members, I led two well-attended workshops inviting congregations to host ONE Sabbath events.  I shared my experience of hosting simultaneous ONE Sabbath events with 3 other local congregations on World Malaria Day. Bishop Claire S. Burkat was also seen wearing a ONE wristband as she led the assembly!

Hosting a ONE Sabbath event is engaging, important, and easy to accomplish.  Even small congregations that are struggling to live out their faith on a limited budget can save lives by using their greatest faith resource: their voice.

Read more about this event at

I believe that congregations are meant to be a vibrant and vital part of their local community.  Even as God calls us to care for people in all parts of the world, we have also been placed in local communities where congregations become a source of life through worship and discipleship.  Local communities also provide a context in which to serve our neighbor and gather as community to continuously expand our mission outward.

As pastor of Temple Lutheran Church in Havertown, PA, I have found local collaborations to be central to our misison:

  • President, Haverford Township Clergy Association (2008-2010)
  • Coordinator, Haverford Township Senior Dine Around (2005-present)
  • Community Advisory Board, Surrey at Havertown Center (Senior Services)
  • Board Member, Haverford Cares Project (response to Hurricane Katrina)
  • Leadership team, Youth Together (youth ministry collaboration)
  • Event sponsor, Kevin Cain Make My Day 5K