Stacks Image 99
Stacks Image 70

The Pastor’s Page™

Rev. Brian Eastman was called to serve as the pastor of Beaver UCC in August of 2008. Brian received his Master of Divinity degree from Andover Newton Theological School (Newton, MA). He has worked as a seminarian at Second Church of Newton UCC (Newton, MA) and as a chaplaincy intern at Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital (Boston, MA). While at seminary, Brian also co-founded the Andover Newton Men’s Fellowship, worked in Theology and the Arts, traveled to China to study World Christianity, and was inducted into the Jonathan Edwards Society of Andover Newton. Prior to his calling to ministry, Brian received a Bachelor of Science degree from Guilford College (Greensboro, NC) in Physics. After college, Brian worked in Information Technology, working for academic institutions, large corporations, and dot-com startups. Other areas of ministry and theology that interest Brian are Science and Religion, Theology and the Arts, World Christianity, and serving the greater community through ecumenical work between churches. Pastor Brian currently lives in Dayton with his wife Amelia.

A visit from Pastor Brian

If you would like Pastor Brian to visit with you, or if you know someone that would enjoy a visit for any reason, please contact Pastor Brian. You may email Pastor Brian or call Pastor Brian at (937) 469-1383 at any time.

Pastor’s Office Hours

Tuesday: 1:00 PM to 6:00 PM
Wednesday: 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM and 5:00 PM to 7:00 PM
Thursday: 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM

The Pastor’s Peace™

Inspirational thoughts from Pastor Brian for your reflection and consideration, published monthly during the year, available in our printed Beaver Church Chatter newsletter and on our web site.

2024

  • January

    It is the end of December, right before Christmas. Perhaps like me you are finishing your Christmas shopping, or putting up some last-minute Christmas decorations. Maybe you are planning your travel for the holidays and getting ready to head out of state. Per chance, did you survive the lines at Kroger, or did you just order delivery or pickup? No matter what you are doing, you are probably preparing in some way for Christmas Day. We go through these things every year, and all of us are hoping we get to experience a nice Christmas with our family and friends. After that we will head into the new year, no doubt with some resolutions, many of which we might even have made before. The cycle continues into a new year, 2024.

    As I go through the motions I sometimes wonder if things have become just a repeat year after year of the same things I’ve done before. There is nothing wrong with enjoying the same things, but Christmas does not give me the same wide-eyed wonder and awe that it did when I was a kid, counting down the minutes until Christmas morning. Now obviously as a kid, I’m sure I was excited by possible toys under the tree, but I think as well that there was still a newness to Christmas that is no longer present some four decades later. I also don’t think that this just applies to Christmas. There are many things in life that can just become habit and perhaps lose the excitement that they once possessed. How do we truly look for the new in life, rather than just repeating the same?

    When we look at Christ’s ministry, we see many allusions to and talk of newness. We become new ourselves as we die to the old through baptism and are reborn into a new life in Christ, sharing in his resurrection and life eternal. Paul writes extensively in his letters about the newness that is to be obtained through Christ. Christ also talks about the constant emergence of the Kingdom of God coming into the world. How, as disciples, do we look for the new in the world instead of just doing the same old thing? I don’t think this is a question that is asked enough. If one is doing well, who wants things to be new, to change? I do think, however, if we take the time to look at the world around us, and really look, the Holy Spirit does inspire us to see not only the new possibilities in the world, but to be agents of bringing forth these Kingdom visions into the world. As we celebrate the New Year, let us also celebrate our calling to make things new, to have the courage to do so, and be part of the body of Christ working to create a new and blessed world for us all.

    Peace, Blessings, and Happy New Year!
    Pastor Brian

  • February

    In January I performed two funerals for church members whom I had known since my first days at Beaver Church. This is in addition to the many funerals that I performed last year for church members and friends. It is fair to say that everyone in the church has experienced a great deal of loss recently and this has been a significant difficulty. I’m thinking of this as we are going into February, when we will all be bombarded by advertising geared towards love and loved ones for Valentine’s Day. For many this will serve as a reminder that those whom we love are no longer with us, a reminder of our grief. In times like this I turn to scripture for support, and one passage I try to remember is John 16:22 “So you have pain now; but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you.” This is spoken by Jesus to the disciples when he is telling them that he will be returning to the Father. He knows that he will be leaving them and he is giving them guidance on how to handle the grief they will inevitably experience.

    As Christians we believe that death is not the end. We believe that those whom we have lost will be reunited with us at some point in the future. Thus, we have pain now, but in the future we will rejoice again. This does give us hope for the future, but it does not necessarily help us with the grief that we face today. In thinking more about this, I’ve come to the conclusion that sometimes we can actually focus too much on getting rid of grief, as if it was a bad thing that we should not experience. In reality, grief in itself is not bad: it is difficult, it can be painful, but it is the result of truly loving someone. Without love there would never be grief. If we did not love someone dearly, we would not deeply miss them after their passing.

    If we look at Christ and his life, we see that he was indeed human and divine, and experienced the full range of human experience including grief and loss. Even Christ wept for those whom he lost. I’ve heard it said that grief is love that has no place to go. In this case, we see that grief is a sign of our love for others, love that will never cease, even if that person is no longer with us. If love for others is eternal, perhaps that is a sign that those whom we love will also be with us always, even if it is in a form we will not fully see until a future time. So, as we come to Valentine’s Day, we will inevitably have joy and grief, but both of these come from love, God’s most wonderful and eternal gift to us all.

    Peace and Blessings,
    Pastor Brian

  • March

    February was a challenging month for me, and I know it was for many church members as well. I started off the month with my grandmother in the hospital, then I got Covid and unknowingly gave it to several church members. With all of the Covid going around, we had to cancel in-person services for the very Sunday I had hoped to get some congregational photographs for a new advertising campaign. In addition to the dozen or so members with Covid, we also had several surgeries in the congregation, successful thankfully, and a longawaited surgery that had to be postponed. I also had some unexpected church issues to deal with, a roof that needed to be repaired at my wife’s store, and we all had some tornados to deal with at the very end of the month, just for good measure. Thank God February was only 29 days, and I certainly hope that March is better. I won’t say it has to be, because I learned my lesson on that in 2020.

    Even though February has been difficult, there were certainly some good things as well. Our game night was a lot of fun, even if I did spread Covid during it. We did have successful surgeries, as mentioned before, and we even had a leap year baby get to celebrate her 20th birthday. Maybe in 2028 she can finally go for a beer with her husband. Life is like that, we always have a combination of good and bad, sometimes more good, and sometimes more bad. As humans, we do tend to focus on the bad it seems. I mean, just look at the news every night— if you just watched that you would probably think nothing good ever happened. That said, sometimes there are things that are truly terrible, a hard health diagnosis, death and loss, war and famine. No amount of spin can put a silver lining on these issues.

    When I had to cancel the in-person service on February 18th, I was feeling pretty down and anxious. I was worried about the other church members with Covid, and just worried about things in general. Ironically, or maybe not, I preached a sermon on trusting in God. My wife likes to tease me on occasion when I do or say certain things that seem to be contrary to what I’ve just preached about. She will say to me, “Did you listen to the sermon you just preached?” Spouses and those who support us are good in this way, as we often need people to remind us of what we already know, but seem to have forgotten in the moment. When all is said or done, no matter the challenges this month has held, I am reminded that I need to trust in God. I certainly am not in control of the world, the church, or even my own life. I need to trust that in God there is a better future, even if that future is one where I meet God face to face and leave my burdens behind. I hope March is a better month for you, and for me. I am looking forward to Easter, as it is my favorite Sunday of the year. No matter what that month brings or the month after that, remember that you and I belong to Christ, we are God’s precious children, and nothing will ever change that.

    Peace and Blessings,
    Pastor Brian

  • April

    Our Easter service was a wonderful experience this year. It always is, but for me it was very refreshing in the midst of recent difficulties that I and others have experienced. We had many familiar faces and some new ones as well. I messed up the Call to Worship, but other than that everything seemed to go well, and even my mistake garnered a good laugh from the congregation. It was terrifically cute to watch the kids hunt for Easter eggs, and we even had the Easter Bunny present to join them. The breakfast was delicious and filling, and the bell choir did a fantastic job with their anthem. Of course, the main blessing was having the opportunity to come together as a congregation to remember and celebrate the gift of Christ’s resurrection.

    All of the aspects of the service were delightful, but one that stood out was the children’s moment. I was asking the kids for examples of where they see the living Christ in the world, and towards the end, one of the children said that she saw Christ in Ms. Jeannette. Well, kids say the darndest things, don’t they. Yes, one of the ways we see Christ is in others, especially those who share the gospel with us, and share in a life in Christ. Paul in fact speaks about how the body of Christ in the world is the church assembled. All of us have our place and part in that body. Not only does such scripture inform us that we should respect others as part of that body, but it also reminds us that each one of us is called to be examples and expressions of the Good News.

    Easter Sunday has come and gone for this year, but the season of Easter is still upon us. In fact, it will be Easter until May 19th when we celebrate Pentecost. We therefore have many weeks to celebrate the Resurrection and the salvation we gain from it. Easter season is also a good time to try and focus on those actions and habits which best express the love of Christ and show that we are part of Christ’s body. Perhaps that can be done through volunteer work, or helping neighbors in need; perhaps we can be quicker with a kind word, and more reserved with criticism. Regardless of which way you work to express the Body of Christ in your life, know that your work has value and is important. All of us together can be the living Christ through our lives and help usher in God’s kingdom.

    Peace and Blessings,
    Pastor Brian

  • May

    As many of you know my grandmother passed away earlier this year. When Amelia and I got married, we had 6 grandparents between us, and we felt so lucky to have that blessing. Even just 5 years ago we still had 5 grandparents. But these last 5 years have been difficult, losing 4 of our grandparents in those years and now just having one left, my grandfather who is 101. This, of course, inevitably happens as we grow older. We lose our grandparents, and eventually our parents, but this is the natural order of things. As Amelia and I shift into the part of our life where one generation is almost gone, it has caused us to reflect on some things. We think about the memories, but also the lessons and the strengths of these people in our lives and how they acted as examples for us. Things have perhaps changed, but grandma still did it best when she did it the way it used to be done.

    There are also the physical things that are passed down from generation to generation, like silverware or jewelry, or a dining room table. We do cherish these objects for the memories they invoke and the history they have seen. However, more important than the physical is often the values and lessons that have been taught to us. As stated before, times have changed but it does not mean that they have changed for the better. Handwritten letters, fresh baked cake from scratch, and, heck, just being polite and considerate are things I can remember from my grandparents that should not be discarded in the new age before us. How do we continue these traditions? The answer, of course, is to pass them to the next generation. When the generation before you is gone, it is now your turn to pass on traditions and to be that well of knowledge.

    This was true as well during the time just after Christ. After the Resurrection, and after the Accession, it was now the job of the Disciples to spread the Good News of Christ. This is why things were eventually written down in text, and why churches were formed where lessons and tradition can be passed from one generation to the next. It is still the case today. We come to church and bring the next generation to church so that they can learn about the faith and the practices involved in following Christ. If we fail to do this, than we risk these lessons not being passed on. Something as simple as the Lord’s Prayer is usually learned from instruction followed by practice. This is true as well for most of our aspects of faith. I know sometimes we do not see the reason for coming to church or participating in worship in person or online, but we do this for more than just ourselves. We do this for the next generation. Just as my grandparents lived their lives so that I might become the person I am today, those of us that are mature in the faith must pass this along to those who are learning. It is perhaps one of the most important things we can do as Christians. Living in Christ means living for more than yourself, and this is perhaps the ultimate lesson that needs to be retained and passed on in the face of a world that seeks to dismiss it. If we lose that, then we indeed have lost the faith. Help us instead to keep it alive and well in this generation and for the next.

    Peace and Blessings,
    Pastor Brian

  • June

    As I write this, I am getting ready to go on vacation to Myrtle Beach, God willing. Of course, I am doing the thing that I normally do and finishing all of the last-minute items I need to do. There are church things to finish like getting bulletins done, writing this Pastor’s Peace, and getting the sanctuary ready for this Sunday. I even have had to do things for my wife’s store like fixing electronics and making beard oil; it’s a long story. Then there is packing still left to do, but at least I’ve done the laundry. Needless to say, these last few days I have had a frantic energy about me, and I pray that once I actually do get to go on vacation, I can finally relax. With my luck it will probably take half my vacation time just to calm down. I was joking with my wife that I need a pre-vacation before vacation just so I have time to get everything done.

    As busy as I am, I still have to be very thankful, as many people don’t have the ability to take vacation or even think about it. However, no matter your profession and income, all of us struggle with the busyness of life. This is made even more pronounced thanks to technology that can notify us in an instant of new tasks to be done and things to worry about every hour of the day and anywhere on the planet. Gone are the days of being peacefully out of contact once you stepped outside your home. These changes to our life are not innocuous. Studies have shown wide spread addiction to phones and social media, as well as an often increase in depression and anxiety correlating to consumption of social media and other online resources. As a child in school, I will never forget the fire safety tip: stop, drop, and roll. I feel like in general these days another safety tip for mental health might be stop, just stop. We clergy are not immune to such things either. I talked to a fellow pastor recently and found out that he takes vacation days, but never has Sundays off if he can help it. My response was, “You know even God took a break.”

    God did take a break, and not only that, God told us that we should, too. The Sabbath is not only a holy day, but a mandated day of rest. This is why I take a nap after church every Sunday, just making sure to follow God’s instruction. All jokes aside, our culture of continuous work and consumption is not a healthy one. This is something that God foresaw about humanity. Even in Eden humans needed more and more, unable to be content with the paradise around them. At what point do we say enough is enough? Hopefully before we have exhausted ourselves to death, both physically and spiritually. My prayer for myself as I finish writing this is that I do indeed take time to rest and see the beauty of this paradise that is creation. My prayer for you is that you too can take some time as well to make sacred and honor God’s commandment of rest.

    Peace and Blessings,
    Pastor Brian

  • July
  • August
  • September
  • October
  • November
  • December

The Pastor's Peace Archive™

Read Pastor Brian's thoughts from past years.

The Pastor's Sermon Archive™

Listen to Pastor Brian’s sermons from past years.

The Pastor's Peace™ and The Pastor's Sermon™ are ©2024 by The Beaver United Church of Christ and Pastor Brian Eastman. If you wish to copy or reproduce any content from the Beaver United Church of Christ web site, please contact Pastor Brian Eastman.