This Week – January 17, 2019

Sunday, January 20, 2019
9:30 a.m. Adult Choir Rehearsal
10:15 a.m. Worship
Special Guest: Mike Goze, Executive Director of the American Indian Community Development Corporation (AICDC)

Scripture: 1 John 4: 18-21, John 13: 34-35
Sermon: “Do We REALLY Need This Many?”

Serving Our Church:
Liturgist: Evan Ramstad
Greeter: Marilynn Krekelberg
Ushers: The Worship Team

This Sunday, January 20, Mike Goze of the American Indian Community Development Corporation (AICDC) will be speaking to us at the beginning of worship. Mike will review the programs they have developed to help move people from the Hiawatha Avenue encampment to a more permanent or stable living situation with a focus on the American Indian population. Homelessness affects many people in the Twin Cities, with the American Indian community being a particularly at-risk population.

With the ties Chapel Hills has to All Nations UCC through Bonnie Stroessner, this is an outreach effort that our congregation can help support through offerings the next 2 weeks. Make your check payable to Chapel Hills and write AICDC on the memo line.

News from the ONA Committee

Last September we voted to become an Open and Affirming congregation. Would you like to show your pride and commitment to this status? If so, you will soon have an opportunity to sign an affirmation statement that will hang inside the church. This document will have room for signatures from the Chapel Hills congregation, under the following statement:

We Affirm That: We welcome persons of all sexual orientations, gender identities and gender expressions into the full life, ministry and sacraments of the church (e.g. membership, leadership, employment, marriage).

Anyone who attends Chapel Hills and wants to sign the affirmation may do so. Those who are unable to attend in the next few weeks (home-bound? college students? away for the season?) may send their signature electronically. Who knew?! That means: sign a blank piece of paper, scan or take a photo and email it to Chapel Hills ( by January 25. The electronic signatures must be added before the document is printed. Once it is printed on paper, the document will be available in the narthex for people who are able to sign in person.

Extravagant Sign
Second Sunday After Epiphany

Weddings join more than the people being married. They join families, traditions, and stories. Generations come together. Children who were strangers become cousins. Two become one in many ways. In this story told in John’s Gospel, there is a wedding with a problem. The wine has run out.  Jesus is there, with his mother. In the hands of this gospel author that situation turns into an opportunity to make a point about a moment in the first century when the religious landscape was changing. This is a story about the transformation of traditions.

During the time that John’s Gospel came into being, synagogues were being disrupted by Jews who were proclaiming a new religious vision within the context of Judaism. Their voices were raised in worship and community gatherings. What they proclaimed was disruptive to the religious traditions of their day. They were saying that a carpenter’s son who was crucified by Roman guards was the Messiah for whom they have been waiting. Talk about conflict! Talk about turmoil! It must have been hard for everyone. John’s gospel emerged in the middle of this commotion. That is why this Gospel often takes traditional religious symbols of its day and puts them in the hands of Jesus who transforms them.

The jugs that Jesus fills with wine were used for religious rituals of cleansing. What was sacred and symbolic is, after Jesus gets through with them, now filled with wine… a symbol of celebration and newness. There are many ways we can think about this. One is that by using ritual vessels for wine Jesus joins what we think of as ordinary with our sacred practices.

Many of our churches are experimenting with new ways of worship and new ways of transforming old traditions. In Cleveland, at our own Amistad Chapel, this past summer, artists gathered from all over the country. They were visual artists, dancers, scholars of liturgy, writers, and storytellers. They gathered to create and wonder and experiment and discover a new language of our faith – a language for a new century already well underway. They gathered to develop resources for the local church and to support our justice work, and they all came to share how the sacred speaks through our creative selves made in God’s image.  One of the participants, Rev. Erin Beardemphl said this about art,” “If we could, in our churches and in our communities, show people that they really are creative beings, I expect the world would be so much more loving.” Like what Jesus did at the wedding, they were filling old vessels with new wine.

Looking Ahead
January 20 New Beginnings Team Meeting – Following Worship
January 23 Adult Choir Rehearsal – 7:30 p.m.
January 30 Adult Choir Rehearsal – 7:30 p.m.

Worship This Sunday
Scripture: 1 John 4: 18-21, John 13: 34-35
Sermon: “Do We REALLY Need This Many?”

Paul lists 9 “fruits of the Spirit” in Galatians 5: 22-23. Those 9 fruits will provide the source for a series of sermons – exploration, the motivation and practice of what one might call “Christian behavior.” Or at least Alan will call it that. Consider this a kind of extended series on New Year’s resolutions. Ben Franklin famously set out to practice 13 virtues. He made a journal and kept track of his progress. That may be too difficult, but it is an interesting idea and practice. Do you have a list? Should you?

We start with a word, and a fruit, that is used in so many ways in so many contexts it is almost meaningless: Love.

May the light of God give us hope and the Power of God protect us.
May the light of God give us joy and the Peace of God calm us.
May the Light of God give us faith and the Grace of God fill us
this day and forevermore. Amen.

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