Service Schedule


Due to COVID-19 restrictions we are currently holding one blended service at 10:00 AM (there is currently NO childcare available)

Bethesda Youth Ministries (5th thru 12th grade) - 6:00 pm
     (Seasonal - See BYM Calendar)



Prayer Meeting 7:00 pm on Zoom 

Kidz Klub (age 4 thru 4th grade) - 6:30 pm
       (Seasonal - See Calendar)

Men's and Ladies' Bible Studies - 6:30 pm
       (Seasonal - See Calendar)


We are located at 155 Reedsville Road, Schuylkill Haven, PA 17972. **Please note that our offices are located across the street and our mailing address is: 23 Meadowbrook Drive, Schuylkill Haven, PA 17972.

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If you need to contact us, please call our office at (570) 739-2241. For office hours, click here.

Wet Cement Theology

 A blog from Jeff Byerly at Bethesda EC Church

The world doesn't need another know-it-all theologian. My goal is simply to search the Scriptures, analyze current theological dicussions, respond to the events of the global, national, and local communities in which I live, and share my life incarnationally in order to act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with my God. As I do this please realize that I am wrong from time-to-time and more often than I think. :-) I am also naturally skeptical and often doubt convictions that are held tightly by many others. I invite you to dialogue with me in this same spirit--to explore how Jesus intersects with our world and to keep our sanity as we view this world from his kingdom perspective. 


Posted by Jeff Byerly on Friday, July 12, 2013 @ 3:14 PM

I’m going to keep it light this week with a review of one of my favorite movies—definitely top ten on my list, but a bit off-beat. It’s a strange movie with mixed reviews about its sentimental, well-intentioned storyline. Perhaps the criticism is warranted. But because the story revolves around a 1960s folksy small-town, and its religious life, I just can’t resist commenting on the characters’ reactions to the quirky, peculiar central character and the religious and sociological angst the entire town has toward him. The movie is filled with several witty one-liners that point out the town’s staid religiosity. The movie of which I speak is Simon Birch.

What? You’ve never heard of it. Well, if you love a sentimental, well-intentioned storyline, I think it’s definitely worth your time. Even if you don’t, you may want to watch it. I’ll do my best to give some worthwhile highlights.

First, it’s narrated by Jim Carey (who plays an adult named Joe Wenteworth) recalling his childhood friend, Simon Birch. The story is about two boys—Joe who is trying to discover the identity of his father, and Simon who is a quirky, miniature-sized boy, whose parents are obviously disappointed and embarrassed by his stature. The town in which the boys live is a typical, rural town in 1960s America with a small church and a staunch narrow-mindedness toward these two boys—one deformed and one a “bastard.” Simon is curious about his unique size and deformed body. He sees himself as a powerful instrument for God’s purpose. The rest of the town sees him as a deformed little boy that is nothing but a nuisance to those around him.

In the following paragraphs, I will focus on some of the more interesting quotes from the movie.

[Scene #1] Simon: I’m a miracle. I don’t need proof, I have faith. Joe: I have faith. I just need proof to back it up.

The irony throughout this entire movie is that this one little deformed boy embraced faith in a God who could do something with the lowest-looked-upon person in town. Simon didn’t need proof. He had obstacles that were greater than anyone else’s. Few could see the value in him. But he could, and he didn’t have to diminish anyone else’s value to embrace that God had created him for something significant. It’s the overall theme of the movie, and reveals how adults and even religious people can miss something so critical to the message that Jesus gave us (see Luke 19:1-10).

[Scene #2] Simon: What does coffee and donuts have to do with God? I doubt that God is interested in our church activities. If God has made the church bake sale a priority, then I’d say that we are in a lot of trouble.

During Rev. Russell’s announcement after worship, Simon is asked to give reason for his disruption. Simon sees something more than the niceties of a religious faith designed to accommodate the comforts of those inside the fold. No one expected God to do anything larger than bless the bake sale. That’s a very small pinhole view of a very big God.

[Scene #3] Rev. Russell: What do you think you’re doing sitting in a corner? Simon: Thinking about God. Rev. Russell: In a corner? Simon: Faith is not in a floor plan.

Of course, Simon had been punished, and sent to the corner. But once again, he is able to look past his circumstances to see a “bigger floor plan” than the one where he found himself, in the corner. He is right. God can be thought of in any circumstance—even Paul and Silas could sing songs in prison (Acts 16:25).

[Scene #4] Simon: Does God have a plan for us? I think that God’s made me like I am for a reason. I’m God’s instrument. Rev. Russell: It’s wonderful to have faith, but let’s not overdo it.

Even in Simon’s patience, he doubts the quest for significance. What’s amazing is that Rev. Russell couldn’t see the treasure of this boy that God had created for a divine purpose.  All he saw was deformity and mischief. He had lost sight of God, and the amazing things that God can do.

Other than Joe, Simon only has one other encourager in his life—Mrs. Wenteworth, Joe’s mom. She pretty much parents this little boy and showers him with a special compassion that is not only warm, but powerful. She does nothing overtly extraordinary, except to simply demonstrate the proper posture toward a defenseless child and defend him when necessary.

There’s a lot more to the movie. With pre-teen boys, you have the curiosities and mischiefs of early adolescence. Mrs. Wenteworth eventually meets a suitor. Joe attempts to find his father. Tragedies strike. Life is complicated.

I will not give away the conclusion of the movie. I will say the ending is natural, pulling all things together, but the truly valuable insights are revealed throughout the movie. It’s definitely a movie where you will ask, “Which character represents my life?” I hope you watch it!

Tim Seiger said...

Posted on Friday, July 12, 2013 @ 3:34 PM -
I saw that and enjoyed it. Time for another go :)

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