Pastor Graham Robinson
Welcome to Aston Presbyterian Church!
I am a husband, dad, educator, Villanova fan, and pastor who has finally returned home. I grew up in the area, but school, work and ministry brought me to Bucknell, Northern Virginia, New Jersey, Pittsburgh, Connecticut, and then back to Philadelphia.
It’s good to be home and serve Aston Presbyterian Church. I am thankful for the openness, commitment, and “can do” spirit of the people at Aston Presbyterian. This church’s spirituality and openness encourage me to portray biblical characters in worship, pray often, study scripture, meet people wherever they are on their spiritual journey, and discover new ways to serve those in need.
Today I am excited about friends in ministry committing to Stop Hunger Now and Lifetree Cafe. I enjoy good books and movies. Presently, I am reading Catcher in the Rye with my 16 year old son, Genesis by Walter Brueggemann, and Praying Our Goodbyes by Joyce Rupp.
If you are interested in any of the above, or if you think that Gino’s or Pat’s cheesesteaks are better than Jim’s, then I hope you will join us for worship. You will discover a people and pastor that love Christ and neighbor, and we will set you straight with regards to Pat’s, Gino’s, and Jim’s.
Yours in Christ, Graham
PS If you are interested in how I express my faith, please read a part of my Statement of Faith titled This I Believe (attached).
Excerpts from THIS I BELIEVE by Pastor Graham
CREATION and SIN
In the beginning was the Word. God spoke, galaxies were born,
dust adhered to dust, the Spirit breathed, and God gave us light amidst the darkness, and new life was born.
Sin caressed Imago Dei, order unraveled to mayhem,
and God’s tears of regret drowned the world.
Tears of regret turned to rays of remembrance.
Ark became rainbow, wrath melted into mercy,
and now a bow shines like a “sacrament in the sky” revealing God’s covenant.
God calls a people to be a blessing.
Laughter is born, a brother is betrayed,
and God transforms ugly intent into something good.
God appears in swaddling clothes to save humanity from our addiction to sin. A savior is born to a “Let it be” teen and a man whose only possession is honor.
Cradle, cross, stable, nails, manger, tomb…
A lullaby beginning – ends in cold, dark death;
but God’s grace prevails.
Now an empty tomb nourishes our hope-starved lives and God’s love nurses us like a mother who would give her very life to save her child (i.e. the world).
The lifeless body of Christ hung on the cross.
Bruised Dead Buried
But the heartbeat of God can not remain silent.
The drumbeat of the universe reverberates and resurrection happens.
The body of Christ presses on – praying for justice, singing with joy, walking with peace – loving and limping with the tendons of Christ exposed. AMEN
WELCOME HANNAH AND BJ
This year Aston Presbyterian Church is participating in a joint program with the Philadelphia Presbytery to have seminarians from Princeton Theological Seminary serve in a local congregation from September to May. The students will earn educational credits while participating in and learning about the daily operations of the church. They will also participate in 2 joint projects being undertaken by Aston Presbyterian and Thomas M. Thomas Church of Chester. Students from Sun Valley High School and Chester High School will begin to refurbish a house – the Dream House – a drug rehabilitation facility to meet the unmet needs of a region in crisis. Other students will participate in a Fine Arts Program which will include music, theater, poetry and literature.
We have been blessed that seminarians Hannah Sikes and Bj Chain have chosen to join Aston Presbyterian and Thomas M. Thomas in September. Please take a moment to read their short bio’s.
I first heard about Hannah Sikes from a dear friend named Robert Spach. Rob and I were in a small Bible Study our senior year of seminary. He went from seminary to be the Chaplain of Davidson College. Last year he told me about Hannah (a Davidson graduate) and her ability to connect with people. Her gifts and passion for ministry have led her to be a counselor with special-needs campers in South Carolina, support hospice patients in North Carolina, and work at the Mission Bay Church and their food pantry in San Francisco. While at Davidson she helped plan and lead worship and also served students as a Resident Assistant. As an Aston Church Seminarian she will be working with Worship and Music and me to plan and lead worship. She will also support outreach initiatives with students in Aston and Chester, teach some Bible studies, provide pastoral care, and support Christian education. When thinking about the time ahead, she said: “I am so looking forward to the reciprocal joys that inevitably come from investing in a church community and in individual human lives – the ways that our stories will intersect to encourage and challenge each other and to move ever closer to a Kingdom vision.” We’re blessed to have her in our midst this year.
Presently, BJ Chain is training at Fort Dix, New Jersey. In the fall, he will return to Princeton Theological Seminary to begin his second year of graduate school and join us on the weekends when he is not at Fort Dix. Graduating from Ole Miss in 2016, BJ was selected to be part of a work-study program to train him to be a US Army Chaplain. During high school he was heavily involved in leadership with the Presbytery of Saint Andrew and Camp Hopewell. And while at Ole Miss he was charged with a number of ROTC leadership commitments. Studying languages at Ole Miss he is proficient in Arabic and had the opportunity to spend a summer in Jordan. As an Aston Church Seminarian he will be working with Worship and Music and me to plan and lead worship. He will support outreach initiatives with students in Aston and Chester, teach some Bible studies, provide pastoral care, and support Christian education. We’re grateful for his presence and commitment to Aston Church.
This year promises to be filled with many new adventures and we can’t wait to get started. If you would like to journey with us or just want to watch and see where God leads us come join us every Sunday at 10:30.
Gratefully in Christ, Pastor Graham