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.

 

KMUCC Fall Market 2020

Saturday, October 3, 2020 from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm

Quilts, scarves, pottery, puzzles, jams and jellies, crafts, baked goods, books and more.

In the church parking lot at 4790 SE Logus Road, Milwaukie OR 97222.

Masks required. Please observe appropriate social distancing.

 

KMUCC Bldg Oct2019I am sitting in my office at the church today – trying to avoid the distractions of spouse and pets, and all the undone laundry and gardening at home.

It’s a perfect Oregon summer day – warm and breezy under a bright blue sky. Kids from the Swan and Madrona houses are playing noisily, cheerfully, outside my window and the murder of crows that sometimes visits in the late afternoon is arguing vociferously from the treetops. My whole extended family and I are safe and well. The world is so tender and beautiful.

Meanwhile on my newsfeed 179,00 Americans have died of COVID19, California is on fire, Texas and Louisiana are bracing for a category 4 hurricane with storm surge the forecasters are describing as “un-survivable,” NBA players are, quite reasonably, striking from the playoffs in response to the news of yet another police shooting of an unarmed black, and we are headed into the last two months of a political campaign that will be another kind of storm. The world is so brutal and frightening.

It seems impossible, but it is all true: the tenderness and beauty, the brutality and fear.

Sitting here with my too-full heart, wondering how to make sense of it all, I am reminded that our calling is not to be optimistic but to be hopeful. Optimism says, “everything is going to be all right;” hope says, “no matter what I am on the side of the tender, beautiful and good.” Optimism says, “nothing to worry about;” hope says, “I will put away worry, so I have the energy to tend to my sisters and brothers and to my own heart as we work on.”

And so, we press on. We gather together for worship – to sing and pray and share communion. We persist in our prayers for one another and our giving to the church and to the missions that matter to all of us. We continue gathering for social time and theological and spiritual discussion.

But we don’t merely press on to continue doing whatever we have always done. KMUCC is a community called and gathered together in response to the still-speaking God. In hope and expectation we gather to listen still for where the spirit is calling us forward: into study and advocacy around climate change, racial justice and immigrant rights; into deeper experiences of prayer; into using on-line tools to gather for worship, not just now when it is our only option, but later when it is safe to be gathered in person and also online.

Where, in the midst of all the present storm do you hear the Spirit calling us to go?

I am so grateful that wherever the Spirit is calling and equipping us to go, we will go there together.

 

TreesIf you love trees, these books may interest you.

“The Overstory” by Richard Powers is an environmental novel set in the old growth forests of the Northwest. It’s about how 9 people's unique childhood experiences with trees leads them as adults to address the destruction of our old growth forests. The book is loaded with information about the ecology of forests, how trees interact and communicate, the symbiotic relationship between trees and the plants and animals who share the forest and especially about the canopy (the overstory). It’s a long and complicated story, sometimes a little dark, but very enlightening. It has won many awards including the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 2019.

A second book “The Hidden Forest: The Biography of an Ecosystem” by Jon R. Luoma is about the scientific research being done at the H.J. Andrews Experimental Forest in our own Oregon Cascades. Andrews is 16,000 acres of old growth and has been a living laboratory with the US Forest Service since 1948. Researchers from a wide range of disciplines examine the role of every element in the life of a forest. Luoma describes projects dealing with the canopy, rotting logs, insects, fungi, wildlife, streams, and the effects of floods, fires, volcanos, and clear cutting. This book is non-fiction and tells the science covered in “The Overstory”.

If you read these books, I guarantee you’ll never look at a tree the same way again!

Cindy Everett, contributor of the month as well as weekly faithful volunteer in our church gardens.

A Message from our Conference Minister (excerpt)

Tyler Connoley 2020I've been thinking about the Beatitudes lately, because I've heard them compared to the statement: Black Lives Matter. Jesus didn't get up on a hill and say, "All of you are blessed," because he knew a lot of us would assume all didn't mean all. For many of us, circumstances and society teach us that we are not blessed and we don't matter. That's why it's important to be specific.

I've also become aware how much I need some of those specific blessings right now. It may be that you need them too.

Blessed are you who are poor in spirit.

I know so many people who are living on the edge right now. Nerves are frazzled from months home alone -- or home with people who need care. Energies are low from the daily barrage of bad news. Living with constant uncertainty is psychologically exhausting. In the midst of all this, God's Spirit feels distant for many of us. With spirits so low, it's sometimes hard to imagine you could be blessed or a blessing. If this is you, the realm of heaven is yours. The beloved community has a place for you. Your poor spirits make you exactly the people who belong in the kin-dom.

Blessed are you who mourn.

There is so much to grieve right now. We grieve our lost friends and family. We grieve our lost income and security. We grieve the oppression and sins of our ancestors that put us in the place we are today. For some of us, we grieve the pain we continue to feel as we demand just structures. For others, we grieve the loss of institutions we thought were good. There is so much grief right now. You who grieve will be made glad. Hold onto that blessing.

Blessed are you who hunger and thirst for justice.

We are in a moment of deep hunger for justice. Our people long for the biblical righteousness that is rooted in right relationships -- the kind of righteousness Dr. Cornel West points to when he says, "Justice is what love looks like in public." It may seem strange that the hunger is more intense in this moment when justice is arriving. Statues built as idols to white supremacy topple. Churches and faith leaders are finally making concrete commitments to antiracist work. But the thing about giving a starving person a few bites of food is that it only highlights their deep hunger. You who hunger for justice the gnawing is deeper than ever, but this is the promise: You will be satisfied. The banquet of justice is closer every day.

You are blessed, and you are a blessing.

You. Each of you. Every one of you is blessed.

 

Rev. Tyler Connoley, Conference Minister
Central Pacific Conference of the United Church of Christ

Hello, sun in my face.
Hello, you who make the morning
dear star, that just happens
to be where you are in the universe
to keep us from ever-darkness,
to ease us with warm touching,
to hold us in the great hands of light–
good morning, good morning, good morning.
Watch, now, how I start the day
in happiness, in kindness.
(Mary Oliver, an excerpt from her Poem, “Why I Wake Early)

Sunrise Over Lake

As our life together apart continues during the time of Covid 19, Kairos-Milwaukie remains connected by the many threads of our common life:

  • Weekly worship and daily prayer
  • Member Care Team calls and personal emails
  • Newsletters and weekly congregational emails
  • Outdoor Green Team meetings and socially distanced all-church work days
  • Monthly Theology on Tap gatherings
  • Generous giving to the church and to our mission partners
  • Kairos Circle Facebook group

Here is another way to be part of an intentional joining of hearts and minds during these long, beautiful summer days:

  • The Green Team invites you to join them in reading “Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants,” by Robin Wall Kimmerer.
  • The Theology on Tap group invites you to join them in reading “My Grandmother’s Hands: Racialized Trauma and the Pathway to Mending Our Hearts and Bodies,” by Resmaa Menakem. We’ll be discussing the first two chapters at our July 21 zoom gathering,
  • And a newly forming social justice group invites you to join in reading “How to Be an Anti-Racist,” by Ibram X. Kendi. Stay tuned for details of an August or September discussion gathering.

Then too, I encourage you to take some time for rest because, in the words of Thich Nhat Hanh “When we take good care of ourselves, we help everyone… we become a reservoir of joy and freshness."

Peace and freshness to you as we continue to move forward - apart in body, together in spirit.

Newsletter2020 06 500x500I am wisdom!
I am with you.
I am a light that will never grow dim.
Love me, and you will see me.
Look for me and you will find me.
At the slightest indication of your
desire for me,
I will make myself known to you.
Watch for me at the very start
of what you are about and
you will have no trouble.
You will find me ever present
in your midst;
Even thinking about my
presence will help you.
Be aware of my presence,
My concern, my willingness
to inspire and instruct you.
As you meet with each other
See me here in your midst…
in you … in all of you.

-- Wisdom 6: 11 – 16 --

Our conference minister shared that beautiful paraphrase from the book of Wisdom with a group of Central Pacific Conference UCC clergy meeting (via zoom, of course) to think about how our churches should be phasing forward as the pandemic news develops.

That feels so long ago now…. back when we thought all we had to consider was the best way to keep people safe from one deadly disease. The truth, uncovered by this health and financial crisis, is that America has always been facing another deadly virus: the virus of white supremacy. Since that meeting, George Floyd’s murder at the hands of police went viral. Somehow, we as a country can no longer turn away from the violence against black people that is woven right though every chapter of our American history.

Now we have a moment. A Kairos moment. A moment rich with meaning and possibility.

Now, while the pandemic is keeping us from gathering in person in our building, we have a moment to rediscover and reinvent what it means to be in a covenanted relationship as church together. So when we come back, we come back dancing!

Now, while our hearts are broken open by the news of George Floyd, and Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor, we have a moment to decide how we will live our faith.

The world is overwhelming, and it tells us the lie that if we let go of the way things have always been done, we will suffer an irrevocable loss. But we believe in a God of resurrection and transformation. New life is always possible. And Wisdom – God’s Holy Sophia- is just waiting for us to turn to her in desire. As we move into summer, still physically apart, let’s keep drawing together on our forward into new life, new commitment to justice and ever new hope.

Photo: © iStock.com / olegagafonov (Image ID# 1166164823)A prayer written by Christine Valters Painter

Praise be the nurses and doctors, every medical staff bent over flesh to offer care, for lives saved and lives lost, for showing up either way, 

Praise for the farmers, tilling soil, planting seeds so food can grow, an act of hope if ever there was, 

Praise be the janitors and garbage collectors, the grocery store clerks, and the truck drivers barreling through long quiet nights, 

Give thanks for bus drivers, delivery persons, postal workers, and all those keeping an eye on water, gas, and electricity, 

Blessings on our leaders, making hard choices for the common good, offering words of assurance, 

Celebrate the scientists, working away to understand the thing that plagues us, to find an antidote, all the medicine makers, praise be the journalists keeping us informed, 

Praise be the teachers, finding new ways to educate children from afar, and blessings on parents holding it together for them, 

Blessed are the elderly and those with weakened immune systems, all those who worry for their health, praise for those who stay at home to protect them, 

Blessed are the domestic violence victims, on lock down with abusers, the homeless and refugees, 

Praise for the poets and artists, the singers and storytellers, all those who nourish with words and sound and color, 

Blessed are the ministers and therapists of every kind, bringing words of comfort, 

Blessed are the ones whose jobs are lost, who have no savings, who feel fear of the unknown gnawing, 

Blessed are those in grief, especially who mourn alone, blessed are those who have passed into the Great Night, 

Praise for police and firefighters, paramedics, and all who work to keep us safe, praise for all the workers and caregivers of every kind, 

Praise for the sound of notifications, messages from friends reaching across the distance, give thanks for laughter and kindness, 

Praise be our four-footed companions, with no forethought or anxiety, responding only in love, 

Praise for the seas and rivers, forests and stones who teach us to endure, 

Give thanks for your ancestors, for the wars and plagues they endured and survived, their resilience is in your bones, your blood, 

Blessed is the water that flows over our hands and the soap that helps keep them clean, each time a baptism, 

Praise every moment of stillness and silence, so new voices can be heard, praise the chance at slowness, 

Praise be the birds who continue to sing the sky awake each day, praise for the primrose poking yellow petals from dark earth, blessed is the air clearing overhead so one day we can breathe deeply again, 

And when this has passed may we say that love spread more quickly than any virus ever could, may we say this was not just an ending but also a place to begin.