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.


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.

God formed a human from the dust of the ground,
and breathed into their nostrils the breath of life;
and they became a living being.
- Genesis 2.7 -

Photo: © iStock.com / elinedesignservices (image #43282422)Despite the ash stained faces that mark its beginning, lent is a season of hope.

It’s a time to see ourselves as we really are, in all our tininess, fragility, and insignificance. And a time to see ourselves as we really are in all our belovedness - made in the image of God.

It’s a time when we see the world as it really is: broken and ravaged by violence; beautiful, abundant and ever renewing.

This lent, as we pay attention to both sides of reality, we will gather each week to listen for the voice of the Divine, rest in the Great Love, and gather the wisdom and strength we need to navigate this beautiful, broken, miraculous life. Janice Roggenkamp and I will offer introductions and brief instructions for each practice and then all together we will experiment and explore.

  • March 5 Guided Meditation from Richard Rohr to help us begin
  • March 12 Lectio Divina (Sacred Reading), a practice of reading that allows us to listen for a word, phrase, or image that speaks a word of God to us.
  • March 19 Centering Prayer, wordless prayer that invites us to be still in God’s presence.
  • March 26 Praying the Labyrinth, the path is symbolic of the journey inward toward God’s illumination and then outward, grounded in God and empowered to act in the world. (In the sanctuary)
  • April 2 The Loving-Kindness Meditation; “a meditation of tenderness and compassion for oneself and others; a softening of the mind and heart, an opening to deeper and deeper levels of kindness and pure love.” (www.contemplativemind.org)

So let us be marked
not for sorrow,
but for claiming
what God can do
within the dust,
within the dirt,
within the stuff
of which the world
is made
and the stars that blaze
in our bones
and the galaxies that spiral
inside the smudge
we bear.
- Jan Richardson -


River of Fire CoverTheology On Tap readers/talkers have chosen as the next “read” Sister Helen Prejean’s River of Fire. Prejean is best known for her award-winning book Dead Men Walking for which she is known worldwide for starting a dialogue on the death penalty.

Reviewers have said this new book is a “deeply authentic memoir of faith in action.” And another, “Sister Prejean’s radical openness and bracing honesty about her own faith journey is as refreshing and compelling as it is demanding and questioning.”

The Theology On Tap group meets monthly at 7:00 pm on the third Tuesday at the Buffalo Gap Saloon & Eatery, 6835 SW Macadam Ave, Portland OR 97219.

Good pub food and drinks make for an enjoyable evening.

God has told you, O mortal, what is good;
and what does the Lord require of you but
to do justice,
and to love kindness,
and to walk humbly with your God? (Micah 6:8)

Photo: © iStock.com / wildpixel (Image ID# 1145766838)This well-loved verse comes to us in the lectionary this month. These are some of the Protestant world’s most oft-quoted words from Hebrew scripture; words we sing every week as part of our offering ritual:

Help me do the justice to be done today.
Help me love kindness in all I do and say.
Help me walk humbly with you, O God, I pray,
Every step of the way, every step of the way.

With these words we remind ourselves of who we wish to be as a community and the work that we feel ourselves called to do. And we throw ourselves into that work with such generosity and such deep kindness! Our care, financial support and donations, from Clackamas Service Center right around the corner, to the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation halfway across the country, to Cetana Educational Foundation halfway across the world -- and many other places in between. We donate our time and energy to feed folks at Hoyt Street each month, and we walk to raise money for senior housing with Northwest Pilot Project every spring. We try to stay awake and aware, always learning about the real injustices and crises in our world so we can respond – to racial injustice, the mistreatment of refugees and asylum seekers, the needs of immigrants, the reality of the climate crisis…