Our Pastor --- Reverend Dr. Lisa Bandel
Pastor Lisa’s favorite scripture is the Easter story as told in John’s Gospel, chapter 20. 

Her favorite hymns and praise songs are "It is Well with My Soul," "The Summons," "Days of Elijah," and "Better is One Day."  

Favorite Quotations:  
“Everything is possible for one who believes. Still more for one who hopes, even more for one who loves.”  - Brother Lawrence

“Faith is to believe what you do not see; the reward of this faith is to see what you believe.”  - Saint Augustine

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.” - Margaret Mead

“Do all the good you can, 
  By all the means you can,
  In all the ways you can,
  In all the places you can,
  At all the times you can,
  To all the people you can,
  As long as ever you can.” 
             - John Wesley

Rev. Dr. Lisa Bandel is a 1997 graduate of Wesley Theological Seminary. In 2004 she received her DMIN concentrating in Leadership for the 21st Century Church from Drew Theological School. Pastor Lisa was ordained an elder in 2000 and before coming to Ward’s Chapel UMC she served at Davidsonville UMC, for six years, Lisbon UMC for eight years and at Bethany UMC for five years. Pastor Lisa served the district committee of ordained ministry while at Lisbon UMC. She served the local community as a chaplain for the Howard County Fire Department and was a member of the county Crisis Intervention Stress Management team. She now volunteers as an Anne Arundel county police chaplain. Pastor Lisa was recognized by the readers of the Howard Magazine in their “Best of Howard” poll as clergyperson in 2010 while serving at Lisbon UMC.

Today as I complete my final arrangements for my upcoming vacation next week, I am reminded that with any adventure or journey we embark on it is best to not wait till the last minute to know the details of where we want to be and how we are planning to get there. For me, I now realize that a big part of the joy of a journey is the planning and researching part of it because it helps prepare me for what is ahead.

At this moment, as Christians, we are in the midst of our Lenten journey heading towards Easter. Some of us get caught up in our fast-paced culture and allow it to influence our Christian walk. What I
mean is that we would prefer a short cut and would probably choose to skip over the Holy week events and go straight to the joy of the resurrection on Easter morning. However, trying to find a short cut to the celebration of Easter actually lessens the intensity of the joy of the resurrection.

The true route to Easter includes being part of the excitement of the Palm Sunday parade in the city of Jerusalem with palms placed down on the dusty road to make a pathway for Jesus humbly riding on the back of a donkey to enter the holy city. This particular route stops for an evening gathering that takes place in an upper room of a downtown building. In this room there is a meal that has been prepared that will literally feed your soul and remind you that there is ALWAYS a place for you at THE table.

When you stop looking for that quick short cut and continue to walk the whole route, you follow Jesus through the streets of Jerusalem as he is arrested, tried, convicted, rejected, tormented and crucified. On this route you make a few stops. The first stop is in front of the borrowed tomb where Jesus’ body has been placed where there is a feeling of heaviness and a time of darkness with grief. The next stop is after Good Friday and Holy Saturday which you will find takes you back, a second time, in the early pre-dawn hours of Sunday to find a shocking surprise that the tomb is now empty. As the sun makes its way into full view we become fully aware of what this journey has always been about and why it was important not to jump to the joy of Easter before traveling through the intensity of Holy Week. The deep awareness we
experience from this perspective helps make sense of the path that now lays behind us as well the one ahead of us.

I hope you will continue on the journey we started together this Lent, so you can fully appreciate the joy of resurrection. Please consider setting aside time to be present for either the noonday or evening service on Good Friday, or maybe even both. Come up with a plan for you and/or your family to observe a Holy Saturday of waiting for Easter morning. On Easter Sunday, led by our youth at sunrise at 6:30 AM
outside in God’s creation by the cross, we will begin our time of rejoicing in the resurrection. We will then enjoy breakfast together in the fellowship hall. All are invited to attend.

Have a double dose of Easter by attending the sunrise service as well as one of our regular morning worship services and then on the Sunday after Easter join us for one combined service at 10 AM led by our talented Chancel Choir who will share with us a lovely Easter Cantata.

Like any memorable vacation or journey, there is a time of preparing and planning, and in my experience, it seems that it is always is worth the investment.

May Jesus bless your Easter journey,
Pastor Lisa
Reverend Dr. Lisa Bandel's Monthly Message