Kairos-Milwaukie United Church of Christ

Image: © iStock.com / Oleksandr Hruts (Image ID# 1208208074)Due to continuing social distancing requirements, Kairos-Milwaukie United Church of Christ will not gather in person for worship or other events until further notice. Our church building is closed. Updates will be posted here as more information is available.

We will present a live worship experience every Sunday morning at 10:00 am by video streaming on ZOOM.
See the Worship Streams section of our website for details.

In these anxious days, let’s remember to pause at the end of each day, breathe deeply, rest in the presence of the Great Love and hold each other in the light.

Updated: 7/18/2020 at 8:07 am


 

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.

 

“The arc of the moral universe is long …. and it will bend toward justice if we bend it.”
DeRay McKesson, “On the Other Side of Freedom”

Photo by Esther Gorlee on UnsplashI’m sure that like me, many of you drew long deep breaths of relief last month when the jury found former Minneapolis police detective Derek Chauvin guilty in the murder of George Floyd.

Joy was fleeting, as news of yet another black American shot by an officer was reported even as the verdict was being read. But the relief remained. As the Rev. Dr. Kelly Brown Douglas, dean of Episcopal Divinity School, said "Today the arc bent toward us just a little bit. It bent so we could step up on it and stand on it and keep it bending! While we take a deep breath of relief, we remember that George Floyd lost his. Let us continue to fight for the kind of justice that all who draw breath deserve."

In our relief and our resolve, let’s remember to ask: what would have happened if the original police report was all the evidence available? What would have happened if then seventeen-year-old Darnella Frazier had NOT stopped and filmed Mr. Floyd’s death, had not uploaded that footage onto social media? What might have happened if there had not been an international outcry for justice?

The disproportionate use of force against Black Americans may be the most visible symptom, but it is just one piece of a much larger and more pervasive pattern of white supremacy baked into American culture and institutions from our very beginning.

In her new book “The Church Cracked Open: Disruption, Decline and New Hope for Beloved Community,” the Rev Stephanie Spellers confronts her own beloved denomination, the Episcopal Church, with the question “how does a denomination historically connected to establishment and empire become a church that loves Jesus, lives in solidarity with the oppressed and seeks the flourishing of all God’s children.” It’s a question all of our progressive, mainline denominations might well ask.

After this year of COVID disruption, amid a decades long decline in church participation across America, in the face of our deepening understanding of racism in all of our cultural institutions, there is hope.

As we celebrate Pentecost once again, rejoicing in the gift of the Holy Spirt and the birth of the church, let’s join Spellers in seeing the church not as cracked and broken, but cracked open so that love can be poured out. Let’s recommit ourselves to the work and joy and meaning of becoming, ever becoming, Beloved Community.

Photo by Esther Gorlee on Unsplash

 

NWPP Walk A Thon 2021A Challenge to Keep Seniors Housed

Northwest Pilot Project's mission is to offer opportunities for a life of dignity and hope to very low income seniors in Multnomah County by solving housing and transportation needs. Visit nwpilotproject.org for more information about the organization and their work.

The NWPP annual Walk-A-Thon fundraiser is virtual again in 2021. KMUCC is a long-term supporter of NWPP and has fielded a Walk-A-Thon team for many, many years. This year we have a virtual Walk-A-Thon team.

You can contribute to the NWPP walk-a-thon two ways:

1. Go to http://bit.ly/nwppwalk2021. We have a team created under Kairos, so donate under our team name.

- or -

2. Send a check directly to NWPP with Kairos written on it so our team gets credit. The address is:

Northwest Pilot Project
1430 SW Broadway
Portland, OR 97201

Photo: © iStock.com / McIninch (image #15556985)For some of us Easter will feel especially joyful this year as we see the light at the end of our long COVID tunnel. Many in our community have received vaccinations and are able to begin spending time with vaccinated friends and family members.

As our moderator Will Fuller has mentioned elsewhere, the Phasing Forward team met last month and identified some criteria for returning to in-person worship. One of those criteria was a fully vaccinated pastor -- I am delighted to report that I have an April 9th appointment for my first dose! My husband has received his first dose. Our sons, both of whom will be home for at least a few weeks this summer, are fully vaccinated. The four of us have been texting feverishly about how wonderful it will be to be all together for the first time in 18 months. As your pastor, I have been thinking joyfully about how wonderful it will be for our church family to be together, in person, to worship, study, serve and rejoice!

At the same time, there are indications in the news of a fourth wave of disease as people let their guard down prematurely in the general rush to get back to “normal life.” And we know that we will have to take it slow as we move forward. Not every one of us will be able to receive the vaccine – some are too young, others may have health conditions that prevent it. We will have to be patient and tender with one another as we live in the already there, almost there, but not quite yet.

This seems to me to be an echo of our faith story.

In this season of Easter, we celebrate the central claim of our faith: that a man so filled with the Spirit of God that it overflowed, was murdered by the state as a threat to their use of power. That this same man rose from the dead in defiance of the powers that sought to destroy him. That this risen Christ lives still and offers us a doorway to Great Mystery.

At the same time, we still live in this world, in all its exquisite beauty and inexplicable brutality. We live in the already here, almost here, but not yet of God’s realm of peace and justice. It requires us to be patient and tender with ourselves and one another. In this in-between time, we both rejoice and grieve together, trusting that the God of life is with us in all of life.

Blessings to all of us living here in the already, almost, but not quite yet of Easter faith.

 

Photo: © iStock.com / Coompia77 (Image ID# 1135048683)Moderator Musings for April 2021

This is being written in Holy Week, when Jesus gets tried, crucified, and resurrected. Observant Jews are celebrating the Passover escape from death in the same week. Our congregation is rounding out Lent to celebrate an Easter rising from the tomb. Spring is in the air all around, fragrant with new life. Even the tribulation of Covid is lessened at last with vaccinations.

All these events, ancient and modern, worldwide, and local, observe the miraculous overcoming of a time of trials and tribulation, ending in the triumphant joy of liberating life over death. Life is renewed once again.

But...life, once renewed, still has trials and tribulations. The temporal triumph of Easter, of Passover, of spring, is part of the cycle of existence. We still wear masks. We still suffer winter. We still face mortality. Life still goes on in others, not our selves. Triumph is not forever, but it renews. That is the message of this holy week. And of our faith made flesh.

PACE March 2021

i am a little church (no great cathedral) …
i do not worry if longer nights grow longest;
i am not sorry when silence becomes singing

winter by spring, i lift my diminutive spire to
merciful Him Whose only now is forever:
standing erect in the deathless truth of His presence
(welcoming humbly His light and proudly His darkness)

--e.e.cummings

This month we reach the one-year anniversary of our “temporary” life together on-line. 

When we first closed the building to worship and most other activities, we thought it would be a few weeks, that we might be over the worst of the pandemic in time to celebrate Easter in our sanctuary. Then we hoped that we’d be more or less “back to normal” by the end of the summer.   Now, as more and more of us receive our vaccines and rate of new infections continues to drop, it is wonderful to think that before too many more months have passed, we WILL be meeting together in our beautiful church building.

It is tempting to imagine that soon things will be “just as they were” when we were last together.  But some things will not come back immediately – it may be many months ‘til we can greet each other with hugs and sing out with gusto during worship.

And some things will never be the same. 

We lost our dear, beloved acolyte Chris Martin to COVID-19.  

We’ve all endured a year without the incalculable blessing of each other’s physical presence.

Cedar Tree Preschool, which was going through a transition, was not able to withstand the loss of a full year and will not be back. 

As we return to our building, it may be tempting to assuage these losses by trying to get back to what was as quickly and as exactly as possible.  Going back in time is impossible of course, but more than that, I think the Spirt is calling us forward, to new life together.  Are there things that we need to let go of so we can use our energy for something new? Is there a project you feel called to invite the community into? A class you would like to teach? We will look for a new partner to share our building.  Perhaps another preschool. But if that is not what is needed in our neighborhood, perhaps something altogether different.  

Once we’re in our building again, we’ll continue to worship on Sunday mornings at 10 -- both in person and on Zoom.  Are there other times and types of worship, prayer, or meditation you feel hungry for?

We are a little church.  But we are a robust, imaginative, and Spirit-filled one too.  As we approach holy week and the great celebration of Easter, I invite us to imagine, pray, and talk together about where we feel the Spirit calling us, in our life together at 4790 SE Logus Road and across cyber space.

 

Remember that you are dust
And to God’s beloved dust you shall return.
- Ash Wednesday Liturgy -

May you live all the days of your life.
- Jonathan Swift -

Photo: © iStock.com / elinedesignservices (image #43282422)

Last month we rounded the one-year anniversary of the first Covid19 case in the United States.

Next month we will pass the one-year anniversary of Covid distancing restrictions and zoom worship. We were a few weeks into Lent last year when we started to understand how dangerous the virus was going to be, and I remember sharing the quip, “well, this is the lentiest lent we have ever lented.” Little did we know just how long that lent, that season of giving up and letting go, was going to last. How “lenten” the whole of 2020 was going to feel – life pared down to essentials.

Now as we approach the beginning of a new Lent, I wonder if it might be wise to rethink our idea of this usually penitential season. We’ll gather on Ash Wednesday (Feb 17, 7pm) to meditate and to pray, and to dig our fingers into some earth and ashes. Because “That we are dust is a reminder that our lives are fragile, and that the lives and hearts of those around us are as well. So we must tread lightly and walk joyously, spreading love for hate, peace for rancor, and healing for a world which is all too wounded. That we are dust is a reminder that in our material existence there is a limitedness, a boundedness…” 

That we are dust, and into God’s beloved dust we shall return, is a challenge. But instead of letting that truth turn our hearts to self-recrimination, instead of focusing on “giving things up” and self-discipline, I invite us into a season of casting off shadows and renewing our hope.

Despite the relentlessness of the pandemic, in the face of economic uncertainty, while the long fight for justice is ongoing – springtime is on the way. Spring, when all the world will teem with life and joy and hope reborn. Now, as we wait for that springtime and the celebration of the resurrection, “is the time to rid ourselves of the chains, addictions, and habits which hold us bound. Now is the time to repair those wounded friendships, and to remember once again the joy that we had in them. The time is now because we are returning to dust, and there is no other time.” (Rev. Michael Rogers, S.J., Huffpost 3/3/2014)

Instead of a repeat “lentiest, lent we’ve ever lented,” may this season be made holy by attentiveness and love. Together let’s walk each other into a season of freedom and renewal.

Goodbye 2020, we will not miss you! Hello 2021 we’re so glad you’ve arrived!

I think I speak for most of us when I say – what a relief to get to the end of 2020, to have the divisive campaign behind us and a vaccine against COVID 19 ahead of us!

Still, as good as it feels to be looking forward with hope, I am reminded of the way a year can hold onto a person. My mother died in 2010. I had done my reading about grief, about it’s sneakiness and its way with holidays and anniversaries of all kinds. So I knew to expect depths of sorrow on my mother’s birthday, on Thanksgiving, and of course, at Christmas. But no one prepared me for the horror of the New Year. I simply did not want the world to keep going. The idea of living in a year in which my mother had not also lived filled me with a kind of dread.

If you are carrying that kind of grief and sadness into 2021 – I am praying with and for you, that you may receive comfort, strength, and renewal.

Holy EnvyOne of the things I love and value about the Christian tradition is that we measure time along with the rest of our culture in a linear way – counting days and marking progress. But we also count time according to the circle of the church year, as a cycle of days rather than a ladder.

As the twelve days of Christmas come to an end, we enter the season of Epiphany. On Epiphany Sunday, which we will observe on January 3, we celebrate the arrival of the “wise men from the east,” a symbol of the light of Christ being given for Gentiles as well as Jews –for the whole world. During the season of light we will turn to the world’s religions to understand and appreciate the light of our own more deeply.

I will be using Barbara Brown Taylor’s engaging book “Holy Envy: Finding God in the Faith of Others,” as an outline for worship and study. We will have brief – all too brief – encounters with Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism and Islam, to see their beauty and wisdom and to allow them to help us see our own Christianity afresh. To see our shortcomings and to be reminded of depths of our tradition that we may have lost sight of.

“The great brigtness at the center of everything exceeds anyone’s ability to possess it,” but all are invited into It’s light.

I hope this sermon series will enliven your heart and curiosity! And I hope that you will pick up a copy of the book (available at Powells, Barnes and Noble, and Amazon) and join me for Wednesday evening discussions beginning on January 13.