This Week – August 14, 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.

peanutsSunday, September 3, 2017
10:15 a.m. Worship/Communion
VEAP Food Shelf Sunday

Scripture: Exodus 3: 1-15
Psalm 105 — selections
Sermon: “Knowing and Not Knowing”
Serving Our Church This Sunday:
Liturgist: Jack Gillespie
Greeters: Stephanie Tesch & Ron Molony

September Book Club Has Been Rescheduled
The Book Club will meet following worship on Sunday, September 17th due to the Congregational Meeting on September 10th. We will be discussing… The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot. Everyone is welcome to join the conversation!

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Little Free Library… Coming SOON!
The Little Free Library has been built, books have been donated, and now… we’re trying to figure out the placement/installation. We are running into underground cables/lines that are hampering the process. Thank goodness for Gopher-One-Call! Who knew that we had so many buried treasures within our midst??

Memorial Service for Helen Henderson
Helen’s memorial service will be held on Monday, September 18th – 11:00 a.m. at Johanna Shores.

gardenCooks of Chapel Hills
The next Cooks of Chapel Hills will be on Saturday, September 30th. The theme is root vegetables. Please try to use a root vegetable in each entree. Think about how you can incorporate carrots, parsnips, beets, turnips, etc. It will be a fun challenge!

Sign-up in the Narthex. We will arrange transportation for those who need it.

House of Charity
We are looking for volunteers to help at the House of Charity on Saturday, September 16th. We arrive around 10:00 a.m. and help with getting the food service set up… no cooking is required of the volunteers!  We serve from 10:15 to 11:30 a.m. and stay to help with clean up until about 12:00 noon.

The House of Charity is located at 510 South 8th Street in Minneapolis (easy parking at meters in front of House of Charity or use the HCMC ramp across the street). Please sign-up in the Narthex if you are able to help.

UCC Disaster Ministries is already gearing up for our long-term recovery work in the region and your contributions for Harvey survivors means providing community support for holistic recovery, repairing house and home for families and children and restoring dignity for the most vulnerable who have lost everything in the wake of this catastrophic event.

GIVE generously to support Harvey relief and recovery efforts by clicking on the link to make a secure online donation. Gifts may also be made at your local UCC congregation marked for “Hurricane Harvey” with the request they be sent through your Conference office or to Wider Church Ministries. Donations may also be sent directly to Wider Church Ministries, Financial Services – 6th Floor, 700 Prospect Avenue, Cleveland, OH 44115.

You will be meeting the unique needs of vulnerable individuals and families by filling gaps in services through the following provisions:
–        Spiritual care
–        Community organizing
–        Repair and reconstruction of homes
–        Tools
–        Building materials
–        Volunteer coordination

VOLUNTEER Sign up to have your name included for future volunteer opportunities. Right now, prospective volunteers from outside the affected area actually are being asked to stay away. Meanwhile, why not send a work team to Volusia County, Fla., to help families recover from the tremendous wind and water damage Hurricane Matthew caused in 2016?

ASSEMBLE CLEANUP BUCKETS. UCC Disaster Ministries is offering $250 matching grants to congregations assembling CWS Emergency Cleanup Buckets.  In an emergency like Harvey with widespread, severe flooding, the demand for buckets will be high – but CWS has only 1,500 buckets currently in stock!

HOLD A YARD SALE, BARBEQUE OR BAKE SALE and contribute the money raised to Harvey recovery. We know of no need for in-kind donations, especially clothes.

Certainly if there are specific in-kind needs that we come across we will post them here.

If anyone wishes to help organize Clean Up buckets or other responses, step up. We will assist you.

Open & Affirming
During our New Beginnings meetings and discussions many folks wanted to begin the Open and Affirming Process. The advice we were given was to wait a bit and get our other projects underway before beginning or we might decide the Open and Affirming ‘was’ the New Beginnings process and we would not establish our identity and begin to live into our New
Vision. The time has arrived when we can begin that conversation. To be Open and Affirming is to announce publicly that we are welcoming of gay, lesbian, bi-sexual and transgender people. To make that statement takes study and conversation and prayer and preparation – TIME.

The United Church of Christ and the MN Conference of the UCC have resources and people to assist us. We plan to begin the conversation and the work this fall. The time it takes to complete the work is open ended: it will take the time it takes.

What motivates us to do so? The shared love of Christ calls us to welcome and inclusion. So does a pressing need:

‘All Are Welcome’ Isn’t Enough
Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people of faith often experience emotional and spiritual injury in churches that condemn their capacity to love and seek love. Because they’ve learned that “All Are Welcome” usually doesn’t apply to them, they can’t assume that any church will be safe for them and their families.

A public welcome by an Open and Affirming (ONA) church sends a clear message to LGBT seekers that they have a home in the United Church of Christ.

A congregation’s affirmation and support through an ONA covenant can be a life-changing and life-saving experience—especially for LGBT youth.
(from a statement at https://openandaffirming.org/ona/why/)

  •  Accept one another, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.” (Romans 15:7)
  •  There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 3:28)
  • For Christ, having received, not one or two of us, but all together, has thus connected us, so that we ought to cherish one another.” (John Calvin)

“Spirit-Led Living”
Twenty-Second Sunday in Ordinary Time

It seems like such an easy thing, doesn’t it? Love good and hate evil. Who wouldn’t go along with that as a life motto? There’s an opportunity here for coffee mugs and t-shirts. The “Loving Good, Hating Evil” line of products. The front of the t-shirts – “LOVE GOOD.” The back – “HATE EVIL.”  And truly, if you don’t have some evil in this world to hate then you probably aren’t paying attention. However, there is a danger here, says Paul the Apostle. Paul’s letter to the Romans cautions that that we could be overcome by evil. Don’t become the evil you hate, says Paul.

Hate visited two UCC congregations earlier this year. It came in the form of spray-painted racist slogans and swastikas. It came to downtown Medford, Oregon, where posters appeared that said, “Imagine a Muslim-Free America.” It came to Annandale, Virginia, when anti-Semitic slurs were painted on a Jewish Community Center. In both cities, UCC houses of worship were also defaced—attacked for their radical inclusion and extravagant welcome to all people.  In Oregon, the Medford Congregational United Church of Christ, and, in Virginia, The Little River United Church of Christ both had their buildings defaced with graffiti.

It seems that opening one’s doors to all people, while expressing the good news to some, is a reason for fear and loathing to others. The question for Christians is not simply that we stand up to evil but how we do it. “When we go through something traumatic like this it’s important to be witnesses, that we see it, to understand what happened, to recognize the hatred that was here and move through that, and through these wounds we can begin to move forward,” says the Rev. David Lindsey, pastor of Little River United Church of Christ. Little River found companions in their community who came to wash the red paint from their walls and gathered together with them in a prayer vigil.

In Medford, the congregants, along with townspeople, handed out posters that read “Hate has no Business Here.” The signs were all over town, at businesses on people’s lawns and in front of the church, flooding the community with expressions of love and welcome. The congregation also decided it was time to get serious about discussing white privilege among themselves and in the community. Our congregations know how to fight evil without becoming hateful.

Looking Ahead
September 5 Tai Chi – 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.
September 6 Tai Chi – 12:00 to 1:00 p.m.
Adult Choir Rehearsal – 7:30 p.m.
September 10 Congregational Meeting – Following Worship
September 11 Board of Deacons Meeting – 5:30 p.m.
September 12 Tai Chi – 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.
Church Council Meeting – 7:00 p.m.
September 13 Tai Chi – 12:00 to 1:00 p.m.
Adult Choir Rehearsal – 7:30 p.m.
September 16 House of Charity – Volunteers Needed
September 17 Book Club – Following Worship
September 18 Memorial Service for Helen Henderson
September 19 Tai Chi – 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.
September 20 Tai Chi – 12:00 to 1:00 p.m.
Adult Choir Rehearsal – 7:30 p.m.
September 26 Tai Chi – 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.
September 27 Tai Chi – 12:00 to 1:00 p.m.
Adult Choir Rehearsal – 7:30 p.m.
September 30 Cooks of Chapel Hills (Root Vegetables) – 6:00 p.m.

Worship This Sunday
Scripture: Exodus 3: 1-15 , Psalm 105 — selections
Sermon: “Knowing and Not Knowing”

Do you take your shoes off when you enter your home? Moses takes his off because God commands it. The ground is holy. Is holiness related to cleanliness?

Moses turns aside to see the bush. What makes you turn aside? Have you regretted missed opportunities to stop and look and pay attention?

Prayer
May the strength of God guide us, the Power of God preserve us, the wisdom of God instruct us, the Spirit of God be within us, this day and evermore. Amen.