Kairos-Milwaukie United Church of Christ

KMUCC News & Events

Photo: (c) iStock.com / SunnyGraph (image #695671848)

Photo: © iStock.com / SunnyGraph (image #695671848)

News and events information from KMUCC and the wider community.


olesia buyar on unsplashAn incomplete but heartfelt list of lower-impact Christmas gift suggestions (some are 501C3s):

(Collected by the Rev. Jennifer Seaich and edited by Pastor Jeanne)

Gifts of time or experience…

Spend some time together doing something you enjoy -- Hockey tickets, concert tickets, a season pass to the Hillsboro Hops, a Portland Broadway subscription, a membership to OMSI the Portland Art Museum or the Zoo.

Take a class with someone: learn together how to dance or kayak, bake or create jewelry.

Give a donation to a cause that someone cares about: our church, Planned Parenthood, American Diabetes Association, Trevor Project, Nature Conservancy, Earth Justice, Rainforest Alliance, the Oregon Humane Society, Best Friends animal rescue…

Donors Choose lets you look at teachers’ classroom wishlists- want to buy art supplies for a kindergarten class in New Hampshire? Library books by diverse authors for a middle school in Montana? Science equipment for a high school in Oklahoma?

Lower-impact shopping ideas:

Support local artists and artisans, like our own Wendy Wallin Malinow (https://www.etsy.com/shop/eyefun//) or Andy Balmer and Patricia Burns (https://www.fernhillpottery.com/).

World HeARTS fair trade store in Oregon City has a variety of items that benefit artisans around the world: Palestinian olive oil soaps, jewelry and scarves from Bangladesh, cute nativities and ornaments, and much more.

Tirzah Bazaar. Gorgeous fair trade, ethically-sourced goods made by women artisans in safe, clean, community-based workshops. Tirzah International also provides microbusiness training and loans to their women makers so they can support themselves and their families long term. Their motto is "When women rise, the world rises with them". Their partnership programs focus on core issues affecting marginalized women, centering on micro-enterprise, leadership development and local sustainability and are led by local women

Gifts from Palestine. My favorites (hard to choose) are the olive wood Samaritan woman and the sterling olive leaf jewelry, but there is so much.


mario losereit on unsplashWhile the speakers in the stores jingle cheerily at us about “the most wonderful time of the year,” in the church we try to hold onto a deeper truth, a more lasting joy: "Christmas is the day that holds all time together.” (Alexander Smith) The day we celebrate the mystery of the incarnation and the ongoing presence of the Christ in the very fabric of the universe. The light that no darkness can contain or extinguish.

This advent, as we wait and prepare for Christmas we are focusing in worship on the angels – the messengers - in the nativity stories found in Matthew and Luke. We are listening for the words of the angels of old to tune our ears for the messengers among us today. Listening to the songs of response that Zechariah and Mary make, and watching the actions Joseph and the shepherds take in response—watching how each recipient of an angelic pronouncement becomes a messenger in their own right. We listen and watch not merely to admire their words and actions, but also to learn how to speak and act ourselves in response to the messages of the angels in our midst now.

The stories of Jesus’ birth announce the coming of a true King of the Jews (Matthew), a real Son of God (Luke) who will bring peace not through victory and conquest, as the Roman “son of God” Caesar does, but through justice.

And so through advent we wait, not just for God’s action in the world, but for God’s Wisdom to be born in us and show us the way to go, to make us messengers of peace through justice in a weary world.

One way to proclaim peace as we shop and give gifts and celebrate, might be to listen to the messengers telling us about working conditions of people around the world, and about the climate impact of over consumption. We can choose to shop and give intentionally and thoughtfully, in a morally conscious way. Our Consumer choices matter. With our purchases, we cast a vote for a more just world in which people are paid a living wage, children get to be children, animals don’t suffer, and environmental impact is reduced. You can find a list of lower-impact Christmas ideas to spark your imagination on the News and Events page of the Kairos-Milwaukie UCC webpage.

Wishing you a blessed advent, a heartfelt Christmas, and a hope-filled New Year.

Photo by Mario Losereit on Unsplash


Come join us for this cozy, fun-filled, fund-raising event.

Sunday, December 11, 2022 at 11:00 am

We’ll start with a delicious luncheon, after which there will be an ornament making table and a wide assortment of baked goods, books, puzzles, handmade crafts and Christmas decor to purchase.

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

alisa anton JhxGkGgd3Sw unsplashClergy and delegates from UCC congregations across the Central Pacific Conference met as usual on the last weekend of September. This was our first ever “hybrid” gathering, with people participating digitally and many others gathered on-site.

It was both wonderful and a little overwhelming to be gathered for so many hours in a row with so many people at once -- something which seemed so ordinary before Covid. And that was a theme of our conversation. How shall we live together in covenant relationship in a world that will continue to be informed by pandemic, a world changed by political unrest and sharp divisions.

In his Conference Minister’s Report, the Rev. Tyler Connoley pointed out that after the stresses of the past few years many of us are operating with very little emotional margin. Challenges that we might have navigated with ease in the past, suddenly seem herculean. As my friends in the Shenandoah valley might have put it, it doesn’t take much until we want to laugh, or maybe snap -- “you are getting on my last nerve.” It’s a time when we are all in need of extra grace and tenderness.

As we work to keep our community vital, it is important to remember that that need for tenderness extends not just to individuals but to whole communities. Tyler likened the conference and each congregation in it to a hanging mobile with pieces that have been lost, upsetting the stability of the whole. It will take time and creativity to bring the restored mobile into balance.

As we move forward at Kairos -- strengthening our practice of hybrid worship, enjoying a restored choir, adding a discussion and spiritual practice group, deciding what activities to renew and what to let go of -- it may be time to refresh our own vision and mission priorities. The council will take the first steps at our retreat this fall. As we move forward with joyful urgency, we will be wise to take Tyler’s wisdom to heart and move forward also with tenderness, patience, and gratitude for each other and the life we share together.


Photo by Alisa Anton on Unsplash



Carolyn RuxA memorial service for beloved long-time KMUCC member Carolyn Rux will be held on Saturday, July 16, 2022 at 2:00 pm at the church and simultaneously on Zoom (see below). Please note that the church requires masks inside the building to allow singing with gusto and to protect the immunocompromised.

The memorial service in the sanctuary will include music and time for people to share remembrances. Dress is casual. No air conditioning. Parking is available alongside and behind the church building. Click here for map and directions.

Cards are welcome, but please don't send or bring flowers. If you are inclined, Carolyn would appreciate donations to either: 

  • Kairos-Milwaukie United Church of Christ ("A gentle force for good in the community"), or
  • Clackamas Service Center, (provides food relief and resources to needy neighbors), 8800 SE 80th Ave., Portland, OR 97206 http://cscoregon.org/

Hope you can come, or connect by Zoom.

Zoom Link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81608525620?pwd=M05VUVRlZ1ZrSjI4aWZLbzVUS2JTQT09 

Meeting ID: 816 0852 5620
Passcode: 731766
Audio only by phone: 1-669-900-9128 or 1-253-215-8782


iStock 1155450279Every summer since time immemorial the Bodman family has gathered “up to camp” – down east dialect for “at the cabin on the lake.” Every year we swim and fish and paddle in the same magical place. Over the years I’ve paddled my kayak along every inch of the shoreline and poked into every one of its little coves. About ten years ago as we paddled into one of my favorite coves, we startled a moose who had been munching on lily pads at the water’s edge. I was thrilled – my first moose sighting!

Since that day I’ve gone back to that same cove and scanned that same spot in the hope of seeing another moose. I have been so fixed on that idea, that last summer I nearly missed seeing the family of otters that swam within an arm’s reach of my kayak – thank heavens the littlest one had to scramble a bit getting out of the water or I WOULD have missed them.

I wonder what else I missed over these last ten years? I’m sure most of you are much more sensible than I, but I need to be reminded not to be so fixated on the gifts and beauties and strengths of the past that I forget to see what is right in front of me.

Right about now in the course of the world we can be forgiven for looking back with longing – to a time when the country felt more fair; to a time when beloved ones now gone were still with us; to a time when the climate crisis did not feel so imminent. To a time when…

With so much to challenge, grieve, frighten and anger us, both personally and collectively, I hope this summer you will take some sabbath time for deep rest. Time to see what new beauty, strength and grace might be available now.

God of Sabbath, Master of infinite playfulness, bless those who are on vacation. Protect them from the worries of home. Guide them, that they may become lost in a new place, with no way but to wander. Shepherd them to still places. Watch over them, that they may not stumble into work or obligation. Grant them wonder, delight, renewal, and release. Run the world without them. May their fireworks be grand, their campfires lovely, their beaches uncrowded, their traffic at peace. When they are renewed, bring them home safe, whole, and changed. And may the savoring pace of their absence stay with them, by your grace. Amen.

(Steven Garnaas-Holmes, https://unfoldinglight.net/).

There is light around us, light within us
and light ahead.


“Whether we like it or not, this is what the Holy Spirit required of Christ's frightened disciples on the birthday of the Church. Essentially, to stop huddling in their version of sameness and safety. To throw open their windows and doors. To feel the pressure of God's hand against their backs, pour themselves into the streets, and speak. When the Holy Spirit came, silence was no longer possible; they were on fire.” (The Rev. Debie Thomas, Journeys with Jesus, https://www.journeywithjesus.net/essays/2241-the-one-and-the-many)

Pastor's Column June 2022This morning I am remembering the early days of gathering for worship on ZOOM -- how nervous we were about the pandemic, how proud we were that we were using technology to be together, how gracious you all were with me as I learned how to host on zoom, how grateful we all were when Lee took over hosting responsibilities. It didn’t take long before being together online felt normal and we added ZOOM council meetings, happy hour, racial justice book group, theology on tap, Godly-Play, and seasonal mid-week virtual vespers.

As the worst of the pandemic has subsided zoom exhaustion and the ability to meet in person has meant that many of those online gatherings have fallen by the wayside. But not our worship. Our attendance has remained remarkably stable since COVID began and, much to my surprise, the split between those participating in person and those participating online has remained about even. I think many of us assumed that we’d keep “offering” an online option, but that most people would return to in-person worship as soon as possible. But even that language assumes that on-line participation is an “add on” rather than another aspect of the central event. I’d like to rethink that!

The Spirit that lit up the early church on that first Pentecost, is still calling Jesus’ followers to move beyond our safe places. This June a group of us will take our congregation out to the streets at the Pride Parade. On Tuesdays we’ll continue opening our doors and lending our kitchen to cooks from “Feed the Streets,” so that love in the form of nourishing food can go out into the streets. We’ll continue sending resources to Hoyt Street and Clackamas Service Center and we will continue exploring advocacy for racial justice and gun safety.

In addition, at the end of the month, I’ll be taking some time to attend “Digital Ministry: A Virtual Gathering of People Committed to the Future of the Church,” so we can strengthen and expand our use of technology. I would love to have your help preparing for that conference: after two years of ZOOM church, what questions, requests and recommendations do you have? What would enrich your experience? What kinds of gatherings besides Sunday worship do you hope for? What do you hear the Spirit calling us to?

Grateful for all the spaces where we get to be together… online, in our building, and in our community.