Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a German theologian who wrote about the nature and calling of the Church during the time of the Holocaust. In his work entitled, “Life Together,” he wrote that one of the greatest dangers that threatens the Christian Community is the danger of confusing Christian Community with some wishful image of pious or perfect community.
To live with the misconception that God intends and demands that we are perfect is a tragic disruptor of our relationships with God and with one another. It creates too much fear of God’s wrath and not enough faith in God’s love. It puts the focus of our lives too much on us and not enough on God.
It misdirects our spiritual lives, narrowing our understanding of what God asks of us to the detriment of our calling and identity. We get so caught up in trying to earn back the favor from God we mistakenly believe that we’ve lost that we lose sight of the reality that God has always called imperfect people to act faithfully and powerfully in the world.
To pursue and demand perfection breeds negativity rather than gratefulness and joy. We end up focused on the mistakes of the self and others rather than focusing on the gifts we have to offer to God and each other. It misdirects our social lives, creating impossible and destructive expectations for life together with family, friend, stranger and enemy. The expectation of perfection from each other creates debts, grudges, divides, and painful isolation.
God doesn’t intend for us to be fearful, self-focused, distracted, negative, begrudging, divided, or isolated. God has always intended for us to live together in peace despite our imperfection by being loving, forgiving, and accepting unto each other, just as God demonstrated the Divine love for us in Jesus first. The pursuit of perfection is a wild-goose chase. Perfection is a myth, and for the sake of our faith and calling in this world, we need to set it down and celebrate the Beautiful Imperfection with which God has created us.
At VFPC this fall, we will be reflecting in our Sunday 10am worship services on embracing the reality of our imperfection - so that we cross this danger of the list of things that are threatening our identity and calling in the world. We will consider what it means that we are the good and beautiful creation of God. We will consider how Jesus models and invites us to lives of authenticity, compassion, accountability, resiliency, gratitude, creativity, faith, play, rest, laughter, dance, song, and meaningful work.
When we embrace (rather than judge and punish) imperfection, it does not compromise our Christian identity and calling – it enhances it. It puts the focus on God’s grace rather than our self-righteousness, and it bears witness to the power and necessity of loving forgiveness as the keystone norm of Christ’s Kingdom on Earth.
All are welcome! Come and join in the gatherings of the Beautifully Imperfect as we give thanks together for the perfect love of God!
The Valley Forge Presbyterian Church community was chartered on March 17, 1956 and grew quickly along with the neighborhoods and industry of King of Prussia. Over the last six decades, the VFPC people have gathered in celebratory and grateful worship, committed to learning and teaching what the Scriptures say about God and humanity, and putting those grateful hearts and learned understandings into action with works of common good. The VFPC community has known the ups and downs of the human experience, and has cared for one another through it all.
At this time in our history, we are seeking a balanced approach to our life together in which we honor our history and traditions, yet also seek fresh expressions of what it means in this day and age to be a welcoming, hospitable, and intergenerational community of neighbors who celebrate, learn about, and act out the loving and unconditional goodness of God.
With our best efforts to set down judgment and to live enlightened by the reality of God's love for all, we are hoping and praying that God will lead more of our neighbors and friends into a place of unconditional belonging with us; for the stronger our community becomes, the more effectively we can love and serve King of Prussia and beyond as a force for God's unconditional, eternal, and transformative good!
The only requirements for joining as a member of VFPC are to profess one's faith that the love and truth of God were revealed in Jesus, and to commit to participating in our life together and our good work to the best of one's ability. Those who aren't yet ready to make this profession and commitment are certainly most welcome to participate in the celebration, learning, and doing until if and when ready.
Tim Dooner, Pastor: Tim is husband to Blair and father to Maggie, Emmie and Etta. He was ordained as a Presbyterian Minister in 2008 and has served as the pastor of VFPC since December 2016. Tim enjoys time with family and friends, Pearl Jam concerts, Philadelphia sports, and the story of Superman.
Lynne Klepacki, Director of Discipleship, Office and Preschool: Lynne is wife to Bob and mother to Bobby, Matthew and Katelyn. Lynne has served VFPC since 2008. In her free time, Lynne enjoys reading and time with friends and family.
Art Henry, Minister of Music: Art attended both Temple University and Chestnut Hill College. Previously, Art was an ordained minister in the Salvation Army and participated in S.A. music programs, including playing in the New York Staff Band. Art has served VFPC since 2011. Art is also an elementary and middle school instrumental music teacher and plays the Tenor Horn in the Princeton Brass Band.
Bob Klepacki, Sexton: Bob is husband to Lynne and father to Bobby, Matthew and Katelyn. Bob has served VFPC since 2005. In his free time, Bob enjoys gardening and FISHING.
The leadership of our congregation is shared by the pastor, the board of Elders (a.k.a. the Session), and the board of Deacons. In our denomination, the Presbyterian Church USA, the leadership potential of all is affirmed, and no one is excluded from leadership due to race, gender, orientation, or age. The pastor is to in all things teach faithfulness to God and equip the members of the congregation for individual and corporate ministry within their daily living.
The ministry of the elders is to measure the life of the congregation against God's good will for our community, and to discern new ways of being faithful to our calling and identity as those who celebrate, learn and act out God's goodness in the world. This ministry often, but not exclusively, takes shape within the committees of the congregation. VFPC elders currently serving are: Royal McGeorge, Mary Jo McQuate, Barbara McElvogue, Sandy Rodman, Mike Henry, Don Higgins, Dave Wilkie, Sujoy Gonsalves, Betsy Develin, Bob Douglas, Florence Sangster, and Gail Moore.
The ministry of the deacons is that of compassion, witness, and service, sharing in the love of God for the poor, the hungry, the sick, the lost, the friendless, the oppressed, or anyone in distress. This ministry often, but not exclusively, takes shape as the deacons are in relationship and regular contact with members of congregational Care Groups. VFPC deacons currently serving are: Joanne Peel, Kira O'Brien, Jean Friedman, David Ford, Kathleen Merritt, Lynda Schmitz, Cheryl Faix, Karen Gershanick, Barbara Roback and Joshua Gonsalves.
A: Our parking lot entrance is off Independence Road. Using 227 Independence Road (19406) as a destination in your GPS/Maps App will get you closest to the entrance.
B: A set of concrete steps leads from the parking lot to the main level of our campus.
C: The Sanctuary and Main Office are handicap accessible by entering through the Fellowship Hall doors at parking lot level and taking the elevator up to the main level.
D: The entrance to the Office Area and the front of the Sanctuary.
E: The entrance to the Narthex and rear of the Sanctuary.
F: The Christian Education building includes the Nursery, VFPC Preschool, Chapel, Library, and Neighborhood Meals on Wheels office.