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.

 

September was a busy month at Kairos-Milwaukie, especially for the Council, with action three weeks in a row. Our Council met on the 16th, had a retreat on Saturday the 22. As I write this, I am off to the Central Pacific Conference annual meeting in Pendleton from Friday the 28th through Sunday the 30th. October will begin harvesting the fruits of that activity.

Council Retreat

On Saturday the 22nd, the Council met at the Pankratz’s lovely home to consider our core beliefs, review the past and look to what we would do this coming year. The value of community, music, joy, support and worship in many forms were among the elements we pictured (in crayon) in small groups.

The goals for last year were largely met, and several continue into this year, including a mission trip for youth, now to Pine Ridge instead of Hawaii, involvement in immigrant justice and continued support of music, Green Team and more art.

This year we focused our goals in three main areas:

  • Social Justice, including becoming an immigrant-welcoming congregation. The resolution for that is in the PACE with the Council meeting minutes.
  • Faith formation, for both youth and adults
  • Outreach, to local neighbors, congregations, and the wider church community

These, and supporting specific actions, will be posted in the church office as a reminder of our focus.

In sum, we came away enriched, inspired and intent on continuing and enhancing our warm, welcoming, loving community that thrives through practical, responsible, authentic action.

Open Invitation

I believe that the biggest part of moderating is learning about church needs and doing something to meet them, so please feel free to let me know what you think Kairos-Milwaukie needs.

Maine PilgrimageSanctuary: 1: a place consecrated for worship; 2: a place of refuge and protection

David and I have just returned from our annual pilgrimage to Maine, where we stay in a little lakeside cabin built by his grandparents and maternal great grandfather. For us it is a “thin place,” where God’s imminence and transcendence seem to meet. A place where the truth that the earth is the Lord’s and every hill and root of it shot through with God’s glory is easy to comprehend. It’s the kind of place that can be, if I’m honest, a little annoying when your first arrive (forgot the milk? That will be at least an hour and a half round trip. Cell phone service? Some days. Land line down? “We’ve got somebody coming to that area in just two weeks!”) But once you’ve been there past those first few days it is very hard to leave and impossible to leave behind. It gets into your bones and whispers something good about the state of the world.

At the end of our trip we took our younger son Jacob to Ohio for his first semester at Denison University, another kind of refuge. Like other liberal arts institutions, at its best it is a place where a diverse group of students become one community. A place where gay, straight, bi, and trans students, Asian, African, Hispanic, European and American kids, economically privileged and economically disadvantaged, Christian, Jewish, Buddhist, Sikh, Hindu, Muslim and none-of-the-above can come close to each other across differences. And when, after four years, they leave their haven on the hill one hopes that community will have gotten into their bones and they will take the complexity and joy of those closenesses with them out into a world screaming with division and suspicion.

As our new program year begins and we turn our attention to the question of becoming an officially “Immigrant Welcoming Church,” I invite you to join me in giving thanks for all the sanctuaries in our lives. For the physical sanctuary where we worship, the sanctuary of our community where we are nurtured and challenged, and the sanctuaries unique to each one of us. May God’s goodness get deep in our bones and empower us to open our doors wide and invite others in, and to take what we have received in such abundance out into the world.

CountryOfImmigrantsKairos-Milwaukie UCC participated in two conversations about immigration in July that helped us understand the complexities of the issue. The following calendar of events is proposed to move our thinking and planning forward. All are encouraged to participate.

Sunday, Sept. 16

Council meeting; present immigration resolution and plan.

Sunday, Sept. 23

Maxine Fookson, our liaison from Interfaith Movement for Immigrant Justice, gives mission moment. Immigration Team members facilitate first coffee hour discussion, “What motivates you to an interest in immigration; do you have a personal connection to the issue?”

Wednesday, Sept. 26

Book group on “The Line becomes a River,” 5:30 p.m. at the church

Sunday, Sept. 30

During church, Immigration Team member gives presentation on “Deepening our connections,” the first part of the proposed resolution to become an immigrant-friendly church. Immigration group members facilitate second coffee hour discussion.

Sunday, Oct. 7

During church, group member summarizes the first part of the resolution; group member or guest gives presentation on second part of immigration resolution, “Ongoing education about immigration-related issues.” Immigration group members facilitate third coffee hour discussion.

Sunday, Oct. 14

During church, David Johnson gives presentation on third part of immigration resolution, “Advocate for justice and for comprehensive humane immigration reform.” David or immigration team member/s summarize the whole resolution. Immigration group members facilitate fourth coffee-hour discussion.

NIN 2018Who Is My Neighbor?

by Carolyn Rux, Missions and Social Action Ministry Chair

The Neighbors in Need offering, which will be received on Sept. 30th and Oct. 7th, supports the UCC ministries of justice and compassion throughout the United States. Two-thirds of the offering is used by the UCC's Justice and Witness Ministries to fund a wide array of local and national justice initiatives, advocacy efforts, and direct service projects. The advocacy work includes the federal budget, voting rights, immigration, health care, hate crimes, civil liberties, and environmental justice. One-third of the offering supports the UCC's Council for American Indian Ministries. Today there are 20 UCC congregations on reservations and one urban, multi-tribal UCC congregation in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Consider this special way of helping your neighbor.

SingForJoyGreetings from the Choir & Music Team

by Ian Timmons, Music Director

Greetings from the Choir & Music Team here at Kairos Milwaukie! We had a wonderful summer of music team led worship and lively congregational singing and are now ready and excited for the return of the Choir for its 2018/2019 season!

As always we are looking to grow our choir family so if you are interested, please don't hesitate to stop by and check out a rehearsal - all levels welcome. Don't read music? That's Ok! Haven't sung in a while? We clean off cobwebs!!! Coming together to sing is a joy that really, I have found no other to compare to. Granted, I'm the director, but I still say this with very little bias. First three Thursdays of the month (check the church calendar to confirm) we rehearse from 7:15 to 8:30 pm in the sanctuary. Please, please stop on by!

In the coming months look forward to a fall music fundraiser put on by the Choir/Music Team/Special Guest performers to help continue the thriving success of our music program. And finally, I'm happy to be officially announcing our special Christmas presentation: VIVALDI GLORIA - featuring Kairos Choir and friends! So much more to come, stay tuned!

“Teammates on the road to light.” That lovely phrase comes from a poem by KMUCC favorite Brian Doyle, and it is how I like to think about what we human beings are here for in the first place. And it’s how I think about what we are signing on for when we decide to become part of church.

I don’t know whether any of the rest of you have seen it, but there is a video that has been making the rounds on Facebook and other social media over the last few weeks - watch it with the sound off (URL: www.facebook.com/kens5/videos/10155229610241545/)

 

 

It’s a brief clip of the last 50 yards of the 2017 Dallas marathon. Two women are seen approaching the end line, running with ease, no other competitors in sight, when suddenly the body of the frontrunner crumples to the ground. The other runner, who could have seized the moment and breezed to a first place finish for her high school relay team, doesn’t. She pulls up, reaches down and pulls the first runner back to her feet. They run side by side for a few steps and again the first runner collapses, and again the second runner reaches out and pulls her up -- and again and again until finally they reach the tape and the high school student puts her body behind the frontrunner to keep her upright and nudges her across the line.

Maybe it’s something to do with having been a long distance runner in my youth, maybe I’m just getting sentimental as my husband David and I prepare to take our youngest across the country for his first semester of college in Ohio -- but no matter how many times I watch that clip I find myself moved to tears. It speaks to me of the elemental truth of why we are here – when one of us falls down, the other lifts them up. When one of us gets lost, the other points the way. When one of us is hungry, the other shares what they have.

It’s what we all learned at Sunday school, following the rabbi who called us and taught us to love and love and love again. Even when it is difficult, even when we are tired, even when the other person seems entirely unlovely. The same rabbi who taught us to receive love, and receive love, and receive love again. Even when it is difficult. Even when we feel ourselves to be entirely unlovely.

This month we will welcome several new members into our covenant of teammates on the road. Each one will bring with them their own unique inner light. Because of them, we will be changed. Because of them we will be stronger, and the light we are able to share among ourselves and give to the world will be brighter.

Together we’ll work and laugh and bear one another’s burdens; we’ll accompany each other on this lap of the long, gorgeous, sorrowful, joyful walk home to the light.

Will Fuller, ModeratorWell, my term as Moderator is off to a good start – I was absent the first three Sundays and Kairos-Milwaukie UCC did just fine.

Our July Council meeting came off OK, too. Had a small celebration for the departing members, with light refreshments and parting wisdom, got through the agenda and ended on time. We won’t meet in August, but we will meet the 3rd Sunday in September, the 16th.

Council will have a retreat on Saturday, September 22, at the Pankratz’ home. Details to follow.

Learning

I believe that the biggest part of moderating is learning about church needs and doing something to meet them, so please feel free to let me know what you think Kairos-Milwaukie needs.

I will also be talking with others, particularly with the ministry chairs, Council members and others who contribute in many ways to our congregational existence, to help me learn the ropes and serve as best I can.

Sanctuary

The word “sanctuary” has been in my thoughts lately -- not only because of immigrants and refugees but because of the word itself. A sanctuary is a safe, sacred space, something especially needed in these unsafe, profane times. We worship in a sanctuary, and creating such a safe, sacred space in all we do is vital to our mission as a church. Throughout my term as Moderator I will work to create sanctuary, and I invite you to join me in that work.

Kairos-Milwaukie UCC participated in conversations about immigration in July that helped us understand the complexities of the issue. One such conversation was among members who gathered to discuss the book The Far Away Brothers, the story of two El Salvadoran teenagers who entered the United States without documents to escape gang violence in their town.

Summary from the publisher:

The deeply reported story of identical twin brothers who escape El Salvador’s violence to build new lives in California—fighting to survive, to stay, and to belong.

Growing up in rural El Salvador in the wake of the civil war, the United States was a distant fantasy to identical twins Ernesto and Raul Flores—until, at age seventeen, a deadly threat from the region’s brutal gangs forces them to flee the only home they’ve ever known. In this urgent chronicle of contemporary immigration, journalist Lauren Markham follows the Flores twins as they make their way across the Rio Grande and the Texas desert, into the hands of immigration authorities, and from there to their estranged older brother in Oakland, CA. Soon these unaccompanied minors are navigating school in a new language, working to pay down their mounting coyote debt, and facing their day in immigration court, while also encountering the triumphs and pitfalls of teenage life with only each other for support.

Book group members’ personal connection to immigration

Members’ stories of what makes them passionate about immigration issues were varied and fascinating. However, many had a continuing thread – a personal connection.

One person’s grandson’s girlfriend’s grandfather is from Yemen; another member’s uncle is Puerto Rican and her son’s closest friends are from all over the world. Another worked for the Providence Sisters, who are active in helping El Salvador’s families. One member, involved with immigration and refugees since she was a pre-teen, was a member of the old sanctuary movement and a UCC church that helped an undocumented immigrant. Another member is a middle school teacher who teaches a social justice unit to a predominately white class, helping them use another lens to know that not everyone thinks the same way.

One group member lived internationally and experienced many cultures, while another experienced being a minority in her first job in Chicago and got a wake-up call recently from a granddaughter who is an activist opposing current immigration policies. 

One member, whose daughter is from Guatemala, became revitalized toward global issues in her and her daughter’s adoption journey and her own graduate studies.

Our book group leader, Kathy Anderson, shared that when she was 10 her family moved to a Klamath Indian Reservation. Other cultures fascinated her. Her immediate family is truly international. Kathy married an Iranian and values multiculturalism throughout her family and life.

Ideas for what is to come at Kairos-Milwaukie UCC

The group was energized to continue to learn about immigration. We will next read The Line Becomes a River, which we will discuss in September. Anyone is welcome to join!

We shared resources to learn more and will explore partnering with another church to further learn about and help with immigration. We plan to soon have table talks during coffee hour to explore the issue more. We are building toward congregation-wide vote on whether to become an immigration-welcoming church. Questions, concerns? Feel free to talk with Jeanne Randall-Bodman, Macy Guppy or Mary Crocker.