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 / 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)


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.

Christopher MartinChristopher Martin, a member of Kairos-Milwaukie UCC for over 30 years, died Wednesday, December 2, 2020, at Providence Portland Medical Center after a brief episode of pneumonia and Covid 19. Chris had just celebrated his 67th birthday on September 26th, a remarkable life-span for someone with Down Syndrome. He was faithful in attendance and leading the opening and closing of each Sunday’s service—lighting and extinguishing the candles, giving a wrap to the big drum, before ceremonially walking down the aisle. Christopher was the son of Bob and Roberta Martin, and brother to Craig, Laura, and Doug. He lived in Rainbow Adult Living Timmel House and worked in a sheltered work for many years until his retirement.

Staff at Timmel House report that they and his friends there are missing him very much. Chris made sure the congregation got to know some of his helping staff at Rainbow, i.e. Cheryl and Peter especially. Many members of the congregation happily took on the role of assisting Chris in his tasks in the last few years. He belonged “with” us. On the Sunday after Chris’ passing, Ian Timmons closed the service singing “Little Drummer Boy” in Chris’ honor. The outpouring of memories has been endearing, i.e. “We will all miss Chris!! He brought so much to our worship experience…from his serious dignity to his delightful side trips as he made his exit. It is hard to imagine church without Chris!” “He enriched all our lives, living fully with zest!”

Chris Martin Memories Video


Oregonian/OregonLive Article by Andrew Theen


Pizza Feed

The Malinow family – with their employees, friends and extended family — have been putting on a pizza feed for the men at Hoyt Street Shelter each December for two decades. The family’s and employees’ commitment to Hoyt Street (formerly Glisan Street Shelter) is an annual tradition. As Wendy Malinow says, “It’s one of our favorite things during the holidays.” This year, with COVID-19 restrictions, the Malinows still provided the feast but had to step back from serving.

Hoyt Street is one of the many longtime missions Kairos-Milwaukie UCC members support. Until the recent pandemic, KMUCC groups and families provided and served dinner once each month to between 80 and 100 men living in the shelter. Other organizations feed the men on the other days of the month. During COVID-19, Kairos members are providing funds for the meal.

Hoyt Street is part of the work of Transition Projects, whose mission is to help people transition from homelessness to housing. The agency offers programs and resources to individuals through case workers, health care, mentorship and housing.

Because the Malinows own American Dream Pizza, it’s easy to come up with a menu. Besides the main course, they traditionally prepare salad, vegetables and Rice Krispy Treats. Dan Balmer and his family bring gallons of milk.

Sebastian Malinow at American Dream Pizza 1985

Sebastian Malinow when he opened American Dream Pizza in 1985

The younger Malinows, Max and Chester, were in primary school when the tradition began. Their friends often joined them to serve the food. “At the time, homelessness was much less pervasive and obvious than it is now,” Wendy says. “Most of our sons’ friends didn’t directly experience hunger and poverty. At the shelter, they were exposed to the need for the first time. A few of the pals volunteered for many years. I think it meant a lot to them,” she says. “Our church does a huge amount for such a small congregation,” Wendy says. “I am always impressed with how organized we are and how many people step up every month for Hoyt Street. It never feels like a chore."


Max and Chester Malinow


I believe in the sun

even when it’s not shining.

I believe in love

even when I can’t feel it.

I believe in God

even when God is silent

I believe in the light.

I Believe Even When

I hope the neighborhood where you live is like mine… ablaze already with Christmas lights and candles in windows.  Because I feel pretty sure that your calendar is like mine … empty of the usual concerts, parties, and gatherings that fill the season with warmth and connection.   And after the year that we’ve had, nothing sounds better than a return to warmth and connection, and hope.

We’ll open our advent worship each week with the words written above sung for us by Ian Timmons. Words that were found scrawled on a wall during the Holocaust, left behind by an anonymous Jew who had been in hiding. Words that testify to the human ability to see beyond the immediate fear, and even horror and to hold fast to what is good.

We’ll sing of the light that has come into the world as an expression of resilience and resistance to despair. On the afternoon of December 13, we’ll pause in the middle of the season of hope and joy to name and pray for the pain and grief we are also carrying with us this season.  Because this is what it means to be human… to know grief and joy intermingled.  

In this dark season at the end of a difficult year we will connect with our longing for the coming of the life-light. As we connect with our deep longing we can welcome in the deep joy of the incarnation – God’s presence among us in frail and vulnerable form.  We can root ourselves in the promise that God is always with us and for us, on the side of our thriving – even when it is hard to see and feel.  We can rejoice that together we belong to the body of Christ – called to seek and share that life-light, that Word of peace, hope, and justice with the world. 

Wishing you a blessed advent, a heartfelt Christmas, and a healthy New Year.