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.

 

Photo: © iStock.com / Professor25 (image #592643618)Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love. (1 John 4: 7-8)

In a recent sermon I got the chance to reflect on Paul’s description of the church as the body of Christ – one whole, living being to which we each individually belong.

We need each other, and we belong to each other.

But sometimes I wonder if we always “get” each other. I suspect every single one of us has both hidden hurts and hidden treasures within – pools of wisdom, insight, and beauty.

During my sermon I encouraged each of us to consider if there are gifts/skills/talents God might be calling us to use here at church that we haven’t used here before. Gifts that may have been hidden or held in exile until now. 

So many in our community do so much already – faithfully and well! But to allow the freshness of the spirit to play among us, I encourage us all to think not just about jobs, tasks and roles that have been done before, but to ask the potentially more life-giving questions: “What do I do well and love doing well? What ignites my joy?”

And, what lights us up as a congregation?

Here’s what I see from my seat in the sanctuary and congregation: 

Kairos-Milwaukie United Church of Christ is a community built on a deep well of compassionate kindness. We’re motivated by a desire to be part of an ancient thread of light and life and hope that runs right down through human history – the presence of the living Christ. We’re good at being generous. Committed to working for justice. Excellent at making music.

Almost Everything: Notes on Hope by Anne Lamott

almost everything anne lamott cover“I am stockpiling antibiotics for the apocalypse, even as I await the blossoming of paperwhites on the windowsill in the kitchen.” I mean, come on, that’s a good opening sentence, right? Impending dread mixed with the likelihood of future joy, if we can give ourselves the time and vision to see it. Can we acknowledge the dread, yet step away from it, take the deep breath, refocus the vision, and then give into the snort of laughter or lip quiver that comes next? If the answer is yes, you are likely to find value in this book.

In an October New York Times Magazine profile, Lamott was described as a lefty guru of optimism. Five years ago, I would have given that a big eye roll, but optimism seems like a harder lift than it once did. I appreciate what she has to offer.

I have been known to rip through Lamott’s books (around 200 pages lately) the way I can rip through a bag of chips, yet I have found spiritual nourishment in what can seem like a potato chip coating. Her clear writing helps me slow down. In Almost Everything, phrases like, “the nesting doll of you” (oh dear) and the way she neatly drops thoughtful things others have said, such as, “Anytime you are experiencing love, you are experiencing the God we are talking about. But as David James Duncan says, ‘God’ is the ‘worst nickname ever’.” I find different things each time I crack open the book.

(About our Virtual Book Club: KMUCC members are invited to submit a book review of a title they deem of interest to other members of the congregation.)

Photo: (c) iStock.com / Cn0ra (image #1053953266)After the beauty, joy and happiness of advent and Christmas I usually find the New Year’s holiday to be -- not much. I’m a night owl by nature, so I’ve often been awake to see the new years in, and there was that one year during seminary when I ran a 5k with a few thousand other New Yorkers through Central Park right at midnight, that was great good fun. But in general – meh. And because I don’t much enjoy the holiday, I’m not usually much of a New Year’s resolution maker.

But this year? This year I am planning to plant some flowers.
I’m resolving to focus on health and strength and planting only what I hope to see grow in my life. That means better meals and more movement, and a better diet of media consumption. Fewer hours reading political posts that tell me what I already know, and more reading that brings me knowledge, joy and wisdom.

As we together as a congregation, led by our Church Council, engage in visioning for our community I think these may be good resolutions for us as a church too… to focus on our health and strength and to keep planting the kind of goodness we want to see in the world.

And if you make resolutions for yourself I hope you will treat yourself gently – resolving to keep moving forward rather than demanding of yourself that you arrive somewhere very specific before we’ve even set out on this next journey around the sun.
A happy flower-filled new year to one and all

Photo: (c) iStock.com / sigoisette (image #859630472)New Year, New Ideas

After a vivid Christmas season of lovely music and rich services, we move to Epiphany on the 6th and the slowing time of mid-winter. Our congregation has demonstrated a variety of valuable offerings, and there is more to come. Membership, however, is declining a bit, which encourages us to spread the word of our value. Reach out and welcome new members, friends and acquaintances to come to church with us and experience for themselves what keeps us coming and becoming a uniquely welcoming congregation.

Grand Sanctuary

As an Immigrant Welcoming congregation, we support sanctuary for refugees and immigrants caught in an increasingly hostile process. Sanctuary, however, means more than help for refugees. A sanctuary is a safe, sacred space for all people, where we worship together in a warm, supportive environment. This broader term is something I am calling Grand Sanctuary. This is not just protection against oppression or unjust harassment, but freedom to be yourself in a sacred place to worship a God who loves you just as you are.


iStock 000009086577MediumSunday, January 13, 2019

The Green Team will collect styrofoam and any plastics labeled #6 and transport the material for recycling. Please bring clean and dry styrofoam of any color and place it in the collection containers located outside the Circle Room. For medium to small pieces, bring a bag for easier handling.

Thanks!

Photo: (c) iStock.com / Eskemar (image #853788426)As the lights go up around the neighborhood, and my calendar fills up with concerts and plays, parties and service project and worship services, as my house is filled with the scent of nutmeg from my handed-down-the-generations Christmas cookie recipe, my heart is filled with the old familiar combination of excitement, anxiety, joy and dread.

Excitement because I love the lights and the concerts, the work and the play of the season and the chance to spend extra time with my family and friends. I love hearing about other people’s family traditions. I even love an occasional cheesy Christmas movie.

Anxiety because although my children are both adults now, I still hear the anxious voice in my head reminding me of every detail that seems NECESSARY to making Christmas merry.

Dread because the world is full of dreadful news and like most people I sometimes wonder if I have enough trust in the good news of God’s presence with us to keep me rooted and grounded in love in the face of the world’s onslaught.

Joy because I am not alone. Joy because I am reminded that faith is not something I need to produce through sheer will power. Faith is a gift that time and time again is returned to me – welling up within as we work and sing and pray together. It is a gift that falls down upon my shoulders like a gentle rain, making everything fresh and new, when I sit in stillness, close to the “deep but dazzling darkness” and wait.

I wish you a holy advent, full of quietness and peace, in the Presence.
I wish you a joyous Christmas full of the traditions that enliven you most.
I wish you a hope filled season, with joy in your heart and just the right amount of work for your hands to do.

Photo: (c) iStock.com / tirlikk (image #863905204)December Doings

The month of December is usually full of activity, and this one is as busy as ever.
The Bazaar on the 9th is preceded by a “greening of the church” on the 8th.
On Friday the 14th, we open the church to a lunch and conference of the conference’s Wider Church Ministry, sponsored by the Palestine Israel Network.
On the 16th the magnificent Vivaldi Gloria will enliven our worship service.
Also, the Council will meet on the 16th, with Vivaldi ringing in our ears, to discuss priorities for our 2019 budget.
On the 23rd we will have a soup luncheon hosted by the Council, followed by a Chimes and Carols service at noon.
All of this is part of celebrating the advent of the birth of the one in whose honor we engage in these worshipful activities and more.

Energy

We run on energy. Part of the energy of the congregation comes from having the financial resources to serve and survive. We are still running a deficit, but it is shrinking, so keep up the good giving! Other energy comes from the tangible ways we touch the lives of each other and the wider community. Our Council provides guidance and structure to channel this energy; we, the congregation, provide the energy to channel.

Solar power is becoming a new, popular source of energy. This congregation, however, also gains energy from a different Star that appeared 2,018 years ago and energizes us and the world even today. Guided by that Star, may we all have the merriest of Christ’s Masses and the happiest of a bright New Year!