January 30 – Seven Years: Happy Anniversary LPC E-pistle

e-Pistle 01This is the 339th edition of the LPC E-pistle which turns seven years old on Sunday.  It’s come to you an average of 48 times a year since 2008. I hope you have enjoyed these seven years of Friday bits of news and notes.  I have.

On Friday, February 1, 2008, I had just finished my first week of work at LPC and had decided that I would continue a news update and blog practice I had begun several years earlier at Park Presbyterian Church in Beaver, PA. Every Friday I’d send an update of prayer concerns, some news and announcement highlights from the life of the church, and then my favorite part, my own comments on “on the world, the life of faith and Langhorne Church.”
You’ve received e-pistles from 35,000 feet in the air, from Guatemala, Brazil and places on the road.  But mostly you’ve received them from Langhorne, specifically from our living room in Windy Bush off Maple Avenue behind the Quaker Meeting House.
From the beginning the e-pistle has been my day off project – my content done on my time.  I get to decide what’s in the e-psitle, so, no, it is not a bulletin board for every announcement in the life of the church – though we use the same address list to tell you about icy roads and the birth of a baby.
In its mail form the e-pistle includes a section to share prayer concerns, “Before the Throne of God Above.” Those concerns from the life of the church are shared only with explicit or implicit permission.  “This Week @ LPC” highlights some events coming up – don’t forget the Souper Bowl of Caring and the Annual Meeting.  And then those comments.
The very first post was “Trash Talk and the Gospel” and last week’s post was “The Hiss Heard ‘Round the World.”  Tom Brady has made the e-pistle at least twice.  In between we’ve talked about  sports and politics, mission and fellowship – and often just about the little things in the life of the church and the world that point to the Gospel.
Some people have asked how I decide what I’m going to say week by week.  I usually don’t know until Thursday at the earliest, usually Friday morning.  Being a person of a dull routine, Friday is the day I sleep a little later than normal. I get up, make my oatmeal, do my devotions, start a load of laundry and then make a cup of coffee and start thinking about the e-pistle.  A piece from the news, a thought from the week, an event in the life of the church, or an encounter in world is usually the fodder for what will become a 500-700 word blog post. Occasionally I think there is some Holy Spirit in what gets written. You usually get draft 1.5, and you may have noticed that I am not a good proof reader. 
Writing is joy and therapy for me, so as long as you’ll put up with it, you’re going to keep getting e-pistles.  In a typical week about 65% of the people on the mailing list open the emailed copy, but everyone on the list is active; they open it at least occasionally.  Our mail program tells us that our open rate is twice the average for the religion category. Others of you read the e-pistle through the Facebook link and some have actually bookmarked it in your browser.  And through reply emails, Facebook “likes” and comments, conversations during the week, and a rare response on the blog page, you’ve said that you’ve found this post or that helpful or thought-provoking. Some of you have kindly disagreed with what I’ve said, and that is more than okay.    
The New York Giants, who were David to Tom Brady’s and the Patriots’ Goliath, won the Super Bowl in 2008.  You could have written a blog post about that – you know, a God who loves the underdog. And trash talk in the church is still something we need to worry about .
So, happy anniversary, LPC E-pistle.  It’s been a fun seven years. I looking forward to the next seven.
See you on Sunday!