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.


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.

Photo: © iStock.com / wildpixel (Image ID# 1145766838)We began this lentiest of all Lents the way we begin lent every year:

Remember that you are God’s beloved dust
And to God’s beloved dust you will return.

Many of us chose indulgences to “give up” or disciplines to adopt during the season, hoping to deepen our spiritual lives, and connect with our own souls and with the Holy Mystery to which we all belong.

And then along came the coronavirus. Sneaking in around the edges at first, adding a bit of background noise, a gentle hum of anxiety, which has grown from day to day until now, when every facet of our lives is affected by our attempts to limit the spread, to keep ourselves and others safe.

Instead of giving up sugar or pasta or potato chips, we have had to give up the casual indulgence of popping into the store for a few things just because the whim took us for something not already in the house. Instead of giving up social media, we have become dependent on our computers and smart phones to see each other’s faces, have had to learn the ins and outs of apps we’d never used before. Instead of giving up one small indulgence, instead of adopting one special discipline, our lives have been reoriented. Stuck at home (safe at home) we’ve had to give up all kinds of things we take for granted: the work spaces and recreation spaces and service spaces that give shape to our lives. Face to face contact with the people who give meaning to our lives.

In this lentiest of all Lents we are pared back to essentials: love and wonder in the face of human suffering and resilience.

It can be tempting to try to find reasons for the pandemic. I read attempts from every stream of American religious life trying to do just that: from “Covid 19 is a punishment for America’s personal moral failings” to “Covid 19 is the earth healing itself of humanity’s excess consumption.” None of the “explanations” I’ve read are remotely satisfying to me.

As N.T. Wright wrote recently, Christianity has no answers for times like this. Instead we have the tradition of lament, and the trust that God, present in Jesus weeping at the tomb of Lazarus, is present now in the Spirit, weeping and hoping with us.

As the Spirit laments within us, so we become, even in our self-isolation, small shrines where the presence and healing love of God can dwell. And out of that there can emerge new possibilities, new acts of kindness, new scientific understanding, new hope. (from “Christianity Offers No Answers About the Coronavirus. It's Not Supposed To.” by N. T. Wright, Time Online).

As we move now into the mystery of holy week and Easter, from our separate homes, let us go together, in love and wonder.

Programs and Activities at Kairos-Milwaukie United Church of Christ

Presenting the Congregational Care Team Ministry

Louise Beauchamp, Chair

The Congregational Care Team was set up several years ago to share prayer concerns of people in the KMUCC family, to make sure that no one is forgotten, and that members’ needs are met. We meet with Pastor Jeanne on the last Sunday of each month in the library/classroom after the worship service and coffee hour. We commit to confidentiality and caring acts of kindness.

The Care Team has taken on the new responsibility of setting up a phone tree for staying in touch with every member of the congregation during these disconnected times of sheltering. Calls are being made by all Team members. It has been rewarding for both the callers and the called.

What we are doing during the “isolations”

We are walking

Mica Richards

We are getting outside as often as possible. We have recently been enjoying the Canby Logging Road Hike. It’s 3.5 miles of paved trail. Great for bicycles, walking your dog, and smiling at lots of wonderful people from a safe distance. When we can’t be outside, we’re enjoying a bit of spring inside with spring-inspired crafts and fresh flowers.

We are adopting a pet

Kathy Anderson

RuthieI was blessed, on the Friday before the Governor’s order, by receiving a rescue dog that I had been waiting for for a couple of weeks. Ruthie is tiny—just 10 pounds—and I was pretty focused on her for that whole weekend and beyond, because she was very fearful and wanted to do nothing but hide. Of course, she had had a traumatic week—being transported here from out of state, staying two days with one family and then going to a foster family where she endured three baths and a grooming in two days. A trip to the vet where they did unspeakable things to her was followed by a trip in the car to my house, another new place where she didn’t know what to expect.

What little I know about her previous home is that she lived with a hoarder. I picture her trapped in a house filled with all kinds of stuff—plenty of places to hide—and possibly never going outside but peeing and pooping wherever she wanted. Here, with her hiding under the bed or behind the sofa, this meant that I couldn’t monitor her peeing and pooping, which is a problem in a rental apartment, but each day has gotten better. She still likes to go behind the sofa, but will come out to follow me around, which means it’s good for me to be up and active. She is especially fearful of the great outdoors, so I’ve gotten a front pack and I can carry her on our walks.

I’m hoping that eventually she will become more comfortable being outdoors, and we can use the grass instead of pee pads! We’re working on Sit-Stay.

Ruthie (named for Ruth Bader Ginsburg) has been a blessing to me in so many ways, giving me something to focus on besides myself, and getting me outside more often. She is only about a year old, so I look forward to many happy years with her.