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.


IanIan Timmons has been lending his beautiful baritone voice to KMUCC for the last nine years as a soloist and choir member. In 2017, he added his leadership skills when he became music director and choir conductor. The experience brings him great joy. “It has created such a safe space for me to grow as a director and conductor. Beyond that, it is my beloved community,” Ian says.

Ian has been missing his beloved community since COVID-19 arrived and shut down any opportunity to sing together. However, Ian, the choir and his musical team — Lily Breshears and Dan Hunter — have discovered ways to continue to create and connect while they are apart.

“We have many plans for singing and celebrating when the time comes to meet again,” he says. Ian used the summer to learn, plan and make music at the church’s Sunday Zoom services. Now he and the choir are looking to the future — working on audio and video recordings, musical moments and performances from past and present music team members.

Ian says the choir and music “deliver us to each other. We laugh, we hold space for each other as the world whips us around, and we make music together, which I think is one of the most special things a group can do together.”

Ian’s ever-growing faith and his love for music are inseparable. “Music breaks us open,” he says. “COVID cancelled that, which has been heartbreaking. But music is the great hope giver. For me, this is the time to practice my faith in the redemptive power of music.”



iStock 13056811 200x200Go out into the world in peace. Have courage! Hold fast to what is good.
Render to no one evil for evil. Strengthen the faint-hearted, support the weak,
help the suffering. Honor all people. Love and serve the Lord your God,
in the power of the Holy Spirit.

I grew up in a Presbyterian church. Week after week our service would end as many Protestant services do – with a final hymn and a benediction. In our case, Rev. Bell would process out during the final hymn, pausing at the second pew on the right to give his wife a chance to join him. Then he would stand at the back of the sanctuary, raise his hands, and bless the congregation on our way. I always loved that moment. Even when I was a teenager who had spent most of the service quietly writing a letter to my pen pal, I loved it. Even though it became something of a game to predict which of his three “regulars” Rev. Bell would use, I loved it.

Those blessings, ordinary, widely used and known, repeated week after week, are woven right into my very bones so that phrases pop into my mind unbidden:

  • Strengthen the faint-hearted, support the week
  • The Lord’s face shine upon you
  • Have Courage!
  • Hold fast to what is good!

In this American season of fear and anxiety it is this phrase - hold fast to what is good! - that is holding me steady. Hold fast - This seems to me to be the very best way to be prepared to face the grave issues we are facing as a national community, with our hearts and minds fortified by all that is good.

I am holding fast to my family and friends, and to our beloved church community. I am holding fast to each of you in my prayers every day. Holding fast to all the ways we are finding to be together despite COVID: worship; meetings of our community life team, green team, theology on tap, and choir; racial justice discussion gatherings; and outreach from our member care team.

I am holding fast to the communion of saints – those who have gone before and those who are still among us on earth. During October I will be lifting up some of their stories during our worship services. And I invite you to share the stories of the saints whose lives and work are sustaining you in this time of pandemic, fight for racial justice, and political anxiety. They don’t have to be famous or “great” on the world’s stage to be worthy -- they just have to be yours. Email me what you would like to share with the congregation, along with a picture or two, and together we will plan an “All Saints Day” celebration to ground us in what is good, and empower us to keep working for the beloved community here on earth.


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.