This Week – June 15, 2017

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We open ourselves to God’s Spirit in worship, prayer and study, holding each other
in community and encouraging one another to grow in the Spirit.
We reach out in generosity and compassion to the people around us.

bookSunday, June 18, 2017
10:15 a.m. Worship

Scripture: Psalm 100, Luke 11:2
Sermon: The Practice of Reverence: “We did not make ourselves”

Serving Our Church This Sunday:
Liturgist: Barb Okonek
Greeter: Evan Ramstad

 

Help Needed in the Nursery
There are 3 Sundays this summer where Ashley (our nursery attendant) will be gone due to work & family commitments. They are: June 18, July 9, and July 23. Please respond to this email or call the church office (952-935-3025) if you would like to spend an hour (during worship) with the youngest among us.

Governance Structure
The new structure will be organized into “Teams” (Facilities, Enrichment, Hospitality, Worship, and Outreach). A “Team Interest” form was handed out at the meeting on Sunday. We would like to gather information about your interests, abilities, and strengths. Copies of the “Team Interest” forms are available at church… we’d love to hear from everyone!

flowerpowerFlowers from Your Garden
During the summer months we welcome and encourage folks to help brighten up the Sunday morning worship service by bringing fresh cut flowers from their gardens.

You may sign-up to bring flowers if it’s to celebrate a special occasion that you would like noted in the weekly news and the Sunday bulletin. Otherwise, just bring them!

Thanks in advance to those who will be sharing the beauty and abundance of summertime.

“Sarah Laughed”
Second Sunday after Pentecost
Stories always have many viewpoints. In Genesis, the ancient and elderly Abraham is sitting by a tree and three men appear. Abraham, recognizing them as divine emissaries, invites them to a meal and orders Sarah (his ancient and elderly wife) to make them food. After she has served them, she sits, out of sight, and listens. The four men set about to discuss Sarah’s future pregnancy. Sarah laughs . . . out loud. Wouldn’t you? What a ridiculous idea it was that an old lady should get pregnant. Of course, if Abraham is going to be the father of a great nation somebody has to get pregnant, and in this ancient tale of wandering tribes and tent societies Sarah is the only choice for matriarch. But still she is scolded for her laugh. Perhaps there is ancient embedded wisdom in the Erma Bombeck quote, “If you can laugh at it, you can live with it.”

As old as the old tales are, there isn’t much about human beings that hasn’t been told. Many a sitcom has begun with a spouse bringing unexpected company home for dinner. The saga of Abraham and Sarah is a story that walks between worlds of social class, power and gender. In these motifs we can read a lot that resonates with our contemporary world.

Glennon Doyle Melton is a best-selling author who reflects on such contemporary stories. She facilitates an online community called Momastery. Her quirky take on motherhood, family, politics, religion, and women’s lives has resonated with many around the country, and she will be a featured speaker at General Synod 2017 on Saturday, July 1. General Synod meets every other year and it is the body that steers the work of the United Church of Christ. People from all walks of life, from all over the country and the world gather to vote on resolutions, elect officers and create a vortex of denominational energy. This year we will meet in Baltimore, Maryland, and the theme is “Make Glad.”  Gathered in that one body, the delegates that will make up that Synod each bring their own stories, like Sarah’s, that shine a light on both what unites and divides us.

Looking Ahead
June 15 Church Council Meeting – 7:00 p.m.
June 17 House of Charity – Volunteers Needed
June 18 Book Club – Following Worship
June 20 Tai Chi – 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.
June 21 Tai Chi – 12:00 to 1:00 p.m.
June 27 Tai Chi – 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.
June 28 Tai Chi – 12:00 to 1:00 p.m.

Worship This Week
Scripture: Psalm 100, Luke 11:2
Sermon: The Practice of Reverence: “We did not make ourselves”

The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom. Does that mean being afraid of God makes you smart and cautious? Or do you prefer my usual translation which turns fear into awe and respect and invites us to value what God wishes for us to do? When we begin the prayer Jesus taught us we say: “Father in heaven, may your name be holy.” The word Holy means sacred or special. The theme for worship this Sunday is the practice of reverence. Reverence is a way to combine fear and awe and sacredness. The scripture is Psalm 100, but not the version found in the NRSV which is linked above. The sermon text is verse 3 as found in the felicitous mistranslation done by the scholars who gave us the KJV:  Know ye that the Holy One is God: it is God that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are God’s people, and the sheep of God’s pasture.
The awareness that we did not make ourselves can lead us to reverence. The practice of reverence, toward God and other living beings, and even toward objects, is one of the beginnings of wisdom.
What do you regard as worthy of reverence in your life? How do you display and practice that reverence?
[If you wish to go a little farther in preparation, or look ahead to the worship themes for the next month, read the paragraphs below the prayer].

Prayer
Holy One, you have taught us that all our doings without love are nothing worth: send your Holy Spirit and pour into our hearts that most excellent gift of love, without which whoever lives is counted dead before you. Amen.

binocsLooking Ahead…

This summer I (Alan) will begin using the narrative lectionary for worship and preaching. Here is a link that explains the what and why and how of this list of scripture lessons. The page is designed for preachers and worship leaders but the FAQ’s are helpful. I will not be leading worship all of the Sundays this summer so I will not use all of the proposed readings. I am going to use the Psalms they suggest for June and July. For each of the Psalms I will pick a theme and connect it to one of the petitions of the Prayer Jesus taught us and one of the spiritual practices Barbara Brown Taylor describes in her useful book An Altar in the World.

In her explication of Reverence, Barbara quotes from Paul Woodruff, the author of Reverence: Renewing a Forgotten Virtue. If you are interested in learning more about his perspective on virtue I have two sources for you, chosen to appeal to both sides of our political spectrum: for those of who are red voters, this is a link to a speech Paul gave at Brigham Young University; to those of you who are blue voters, here is a link to Paul speaking with Bill Moyers.
The psalms are: 100, 13, 23, 30, and 150.

This Week – June 1, 2017

strengthen

We open ourselves to God’s Spirit in worship, prayer and study, holding each other
in community and encouraging one another to grow in the Spirit.
We reach out in generosity and compassion to the people around us.

Sunday, June 4, 2017
9:15 a.m. Adult Choir Rehearsal
10:15 a.m. Worship/Communion
Scripture: Selections from the Biblical witness to the power of Wind and Breath and Spirit
Sermon: “Wind, Breath, Spirit: the Trinity of the Third Person”

Serving Our Church This Sunday:
Liturgist: Heidi Schellhas
Greeter: Marilynn Krekelberg
Ushers: Board of Deacons

THIS Sunday…

Worship & Communion
Last Sunday to hear the Choir before they take a well-deserved summer break.
We will receive the Strengthen the Church Offering.
Dessert of the Month Drawing
VEAP Food Shelf Sunday
Governance Structure Meeting – Following Worship

 

This is Food Shelf Sunday
Please bring non-perishable items for the VEAP Food Shelf or make a donation. We gather at God’s table to receive and remember and celebrate the grace we have been given. We offer food from our tables to those who are in need.

VEAP is a basic needs and social services organization whose programs promote access to healthy foods, stable housing and transportation. VEAP’s programs are designed to address a particular need and when used together provide hope and can help avoid a financial crisis such as loss of housing, transportation or employment. Whether the hardship is from a disability, job transition, or the financial and physical stresses of aging, VEAP has been helping our neighbors in need for over 40 years.

WEED Appreciate Your HELP!
Let’s ALL pitch in to help keep our landscaping looking beautiful.  Even a few minutes of weeding before or after church would be helpful!

“Strengthen the Church Special Mission Offering”
Pentecost Sunday

Fire in the ancient world was a sign that a divine announcement was imminent.. Flames surrounded a bush that did not burn and called Moses to Holy ground. Elijah prayed for fire and it appeared before all the priests of Baal could muster a spark. On Pentecost, fire comes as literal communication – as tongues of fire endowing the apostles with multi-lingual capabilities. Being gifted with tongues of fire meant they could speak the languages of many nations and be understood. All the people from all over the known world of that day, all those foreigners and travelers that flocked regularly to Jerusalem, could, on this day, understand what was being said by the apostles on Pentecost.

What a gift that would be! What a super power! Imagine being able to travel across the world and speak Danish to the Danes, Urdu to the Pakistanis, German to the Germans, Shona to people in Zimbabwe, and Mandarin to the Chinese. Neuroscientists are studying how being multilingual increases brain size, and we know that understanding each other’s language is what increases the power of humanity to come together. Opening up the way to global conversation is part of our mission as the United Church of Christ, and Strengthening the Church through our gifts to mission is a way of broadening and deepening these conversations.

Going global also might mean learning local. The First Congregational Church of Elmhurst, Illinois, is growing the brains of their children and contributing to a multilingual church. They do this every Monday evening as part of their De Colores Children’s Spanish Program. It’s a program in which children from grades K-5 combine learning Spanish with growing Christian faith using stories, games, art, food and prayer. What an opportunity to share tongues of fire, strengthen our church and deepen our future by teaching young brains to learn the language of others. Happy Pentecost!

busesHelp Needed in the Nursery
There are 3 Sundays this summer where Ashley (our nursery attendant) will be gone due to work & family commitments. They are: June 18, July 9, and July 23. Please respond to this email or call the church office (952-935-3025) if you would like to spend an hour (during worship) with the youngest among us.

Looking Ahead
June 4 Choir’s Last Sunday
Strengthen the Church Special Offering
VEAP Food Shelf Sunday
Dessert of the Month Drawing
Congregation Meeting to Discuss Governance Structure – Following Worship
June 6 Tai Chi – 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.
June 7 Tai Chi – 12:00 to 1:00 p.m.
June 13 Tai Chi – 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.
June 14 Tai Chi – 12:00 to 1:00 p.m.
June 17 House of Charity – Volunteers Needed
June 18 Book Club – Following Worship

Worship This Week
Scripture: Selections from the Biblical witness to the power of Wind and Breath and Spirit
Sermon: “Wind, Breath, Spirit: the Trinity of the Third Person”

Pentecost Sunday:
50 days Luke, in his second work – the Book of Acts – records the coming of the Holy Spirit with the sound of wind and divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them. In worship we will mark that anniversary and give thanks for the work of our choir to manifest the Spirit’s presence among us through music. Acts 2: 1-4 describes the coming of the Spirit.

  • How did you find your way into the church?
  • What has kept you returning?
  • What winds have blown into your life?
  • Were they always holy ones?
  • What other winds swirl around you?

Prayer
Holy One, you have taught us that all our doings without love are nothing worth: send your Holy Spirit and pour into our hearts that most excellent gift of love, without which whoever lives is counted dead before you. Amen.

This Week – May 4, 2017

flowers

We open ourselves to God’s Spirit in worship, prayer and study, holding each other
in community and encouraging one another to grow in the Spirit.
We reach out in generosity and compassion to the people around us.

dessertSunday, May 7, 2017
9:15 a.m. Sunday School
Adult Choir Rehearsal
10:15 a.m. Worship/Communion

Scripture: Matthew 28: 16-20, John 20: 24-29
Sermon: “They Were Honest With Us”
Serving Our Church This Sunday:
Liturgist: Susan Brauer
Greeters: Barb & Alan McNamara

Chapel Hills is a 5 for 5 Congregation
5 for 5 congregations support Our Church’s Wider Mission Basic Support and the Neighbors in Need, One Great Hour of Sharing, Christmas Fund, and Strengthen the Church Special Mission Offerings of the United Church of Christ. Thank you for your generous support!

Personal Hearing Devices
Hearing devices from Williams Sound are available for use on Sundays during worship. They are on the table in the back of the sanctuary for those who need them. After the service, please return them to the container marked “Return Hearing Device Here” and we will sanitize them so they will be clean and ready to use the following week.

Dr. Jonathan Braman – 5-week American-British-Canadian (ABC) Traveling Fellowship
Keep abreast of Jon’s incredible journey through his blog at https://aoatravelingfellowships.wordpress.com/.

On Thursday, May 11th the 59th Recipient of the Franciscan International Award will be Presented to Volunteers Enlisted to Assist People (VEAP)

Greetings,

VEAP is honored to have been nominated and accepted to receive the 2017 Franciscan International Award.  We are humbled to be part of a group that includes people and organizations such as Dr. Billy Graham, Habitat for Humanity, Sister Helen Prejean among others. While VEAP is grateful to receive this award, we know that it only thanks to the commitment and dedication of this community, and particularly the faith community, that we are able to respond to community needs. We are deeply thankful to you and your congregation for the support you provide to fulfill our mission of meeting basic needs and building stronger, more hopeful, communities.

A special award dinner is scheduled for Thursday, May 11 at the Wilds Golf Club in Prior Lake. It would be wonderful to celebrate this award with you and others that are so deeply committed to VEAP’s mission. Tickets are available by calling the Franciscan Retreats and Spirituality Center at 952.447.2182.

Thank you for all the ways that you and your congregation support VEAP and our neighbors in need.

Blessings,

Patty Schulz, Advancement Director
Volunteers Enlisted to Assist People 

“Powerful Witness”
Fourth Sunday of Easter

If you search the internet looking for UCC churches that have done something with the 23rd Psalm, you will discover St. Paul’s United Church of Christ in Seattle, Washington, an Open and Affirming congregation. A very small church by any measure with only 70 members, their choir sang Bobby McFerrin’s version of the Psalm and they recorded it in worship and posted in on Vimeo. You would be doing yourself a favor to track down their website and find the video of the anthem; make yourself a cup of tea, get comfortable and be present in prayer with this little church and the singing of this beautiful anthem. They look like so many of our small churches and they are so mighty, so faithful, and so persistent in their presence.

On their website (www.stpucc.org) you will discover that they had a fire in the beginning of 2016. You can read the timeline of their rebuilding process and learn about their social action programs—like serving community meals and sponsoring a refugee family from Afghanistan. Their Mission Statement says: “At St. Paul’s we are not called to change people; we are called to offer space where growth can take place.”

The 23rd Psalm, an ancient pastoral poem to a God who shepherds us, was written by people who could never imagine Seattle, or an electric piano, or Vimeo, or anything at all about our world except perhaps the closeness of people and the care felt in small communities. In “church talk,” we sometimes speak of congregations as flocks, and the pastor as the shepherd. It’s as comforting as the words of the psalm to know and imagine all the little flocks across the country, singing, feeding the homeless and shepherding refugees. They are the goodness and the mercy following us all the days of our lives.

Looking Ahead
May 9 Tai Chi – 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.
May 10 Tai Chi – 12:00 to 1:00 p.m.
Adult Choir Rehearsal – 7:30 p.m.
May 16 Tai Chi – 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.
Church Council Meeting – 7:00 p.m.
May 17 Tai Chi – 12:00 to 1:00 p.m.
Adult Choir Rehearsal – 7:30 p.m.
May 23 Tai Chi – 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.
May 24 Tai Chi – 12:00 to 1:00 p.m.
Adult Choir Rehearsal – 7:30 p.m.
May 27 House of Charity – Volunteers Needed

Worship This Sunday
Scripture: Matthew 28: 16-20, John 20: 24-29
Sermon: “They Were Honest With Us”

Both John and Matthew tell us that doubt is present within the community following the Resurrection of Jesus. We mistakenly think that doubt is the opposite of faith. It is not. The opposite of faith is certainty. The words we translate as faith or belief can also be translated as trust. How would your life be different if the church had asked you to trust instead of asking you to believe? Trust carries with the implication of action based upon that decision. Does faith carry that implication in your life?

Prayer
Almighty God, who in Your great mercy made glad the disciples with the sight of the risen Lord: give us such knowledge of His presence with us, that we may be strengthened and sustained by His risen life and serve You continually in righteousness and truth: through Jesus Christ our Savior. Amen.