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.


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.

Photo: (c) iStock.com / Rawpixel (image #664979006)This week the Supreme Court of the United States of America upheld the Trump administration’s ban on people from seven majority-Muslim nations entering the US.
This week at least 2000 children are still detained away from their undocumented parents after having been separated at the border. Plans are being made to house families that *can* be re-united, together. Indefinitely.
This week we learned that the administration has cancelled an eight year old policy designed to protect oceans from a repeat of the Deepwater Horizon disaster.
This week -- today as I write the story is unfolding– five journalists were murdered at the Capital Gazette newsroom in Maryland – after months of Mr. Trump calling the news media the “enemy of the American people,” and two days after Trump supporter Milo Yiannopoulos urged people to “start gunning down journalists.”
It is a weary, frightening time in our beloved country. Some days I am tempted to despair.
But maybe we were called into community for just such a time as this -- a time of injustice; a time of fear; a time when the world needs light.
For such a time as this we will need to gather our courage, remember who and whose we are, ground ourselves in God’s love, and rely on each other and the great cloud of witnesses. We will need to remember that the struggle for justice is the struggle of a lifetime but it need not be a lonely struggle. For such a time as this we will need to remember that we really only have a few jobs while we are here on this planet: To love God and to love each other. So…
take care of yourself, attend to your spiritual life.
And then get out into the streets.
And that’s it. Our strength comes from the inner journey toward joy and the outer journey of justice. The two move in tandem. (John Fugelsang and Diana Butler Bass in conversation)
Move inward, move outward. Take breaks. Take heart and be of good courage. We are not alone.
In Solidarity and Hope, Jeanne

David Johnson, Past ModeratorI have truly enjoyed being your Moderator over the last 4 years. While it has been a lot of work, it has also been fun and rewarding. When I accepted the position, however, I had no idea how many challenges our church was going to face.

First Pastor Rick retired. We threw a party, we raised $15,000 to give him and his wife a parting gift. I know that they left with very good feelings about this congregation.
We went nearly 6 months without a pastor. We brought in guest speakers, but primarily we drew upon the immense talent in our own congregation. And we did just fine.

We set up a Pastoral Search Committee. They worked long and hard. We had a great many very qualified applicants. This was a prime job opening. We may not be large, but have no debts and have a very engaged and passionate congregation.

We hired a new pastor. We managed to work out all the financial details. We then had to adjust to someone new. Pastor Jeanne made it easy. She has incorporated new ideas and ways of doing things – yet left our basic structure intact – so that our church still feels as much like HOME as it always has.

We then raised enough money to put on a new roof. When the company said they didn’t have the manpower to build it last year – our strong negotiating team made sure it got done – and at a reduced price. So we had money left for new speakers, restroom updates, and sprucing up the exterior.

Joe Riso PaintingPowerful Painting in the Narthex

This vivid painting in the narthex (right) is by local artist Joe Riso and is on loan to the church by Chris Christensen. Check out his website at www.risoart.com.

Chris reports that Joe is teaching as well as painting as he is supporting himself and his young son.


Kairos Hikes

Any and all are welcome to join for fresh air, movement, and conversation. Saturday, July 28 at Elk Rock Island in Milwaukie. Meet at 10:00 AM at the Spring Park trailhead on SE 19th Avenue and Sparrow Street. For more information, contact Mica Richards at church.

Photo: (c) iStock.com / Professor25 (image #592643618)Becoming an Immigrant Welcoming Church

The United Church of Christ has a long history of following in the way of Jesus by working for justice and in solidarity with the suffering. During the 1980s many of our congregations were involved in the “Sanctuary Movement,” providing shelter, material support and often legal advice to Central American Refugees fleeing civil wars in their home countries. In addition to offering direct aid to individuals and families, the Sanctuary Movement was influential in the passage of a 1990 congressional bill authorizing temporary protected status for Central American refugees, and the 1997 Nicaraguan Adjustment and Central American Relief Act which allowed Central American refugees to apply for permanent residence.

The commitment to Sanctuary is still strong in many congregations. In 2016 the Central Pacific Conference covenanted together to become an Immigrant Welcoming Conference and in July 2017 delegates to the National Synod voted overwhelmingly to declare the whole United Church of Christ an Immigrant Welcoming Denomination.

In a new and different political landscape, the needs of refugee and immigrant people are changing—they need less physical sanctuary and more welcome, accompaniment, and bold advocacy for compassionate immigration laws. Immigrants seeking financial security and refugees fleeing violence still arrive at our southern border; some entering without documentation and others presenting themselves at appointed places to request asylum. What is new is the enhanced enforcement. What is new and morally abhorrent is the Department of Homeland Security’s policy of separating children from their parents to deter others from coming to our borders.

In light of all that has come before, and the extreme enforcement measures being taken at the border and by ICE agents across the country, I hope that we as a congregation will do all we can to stand together with our immigrant brothers and sisters and their families. Macy Guppy, Mary Crocker and I have been involved with IMIrJ’s education efforts over the last year. We will be offering opportunities to engage in a congregation wide conversation this summer so that together we can decide how we want to respond to the current crisis. Join us as we educate ourselves about immigrant issues and learn how we might advocate for human rights, and how to accompany our immigrant neighbors in times of need.

To help us enter into conversation I have invited Rev. Linda Jaramillo to join us for worship on June 10. Rev. Jaramillo who served as executive minister of UCC Justice and Witness Ministries for nearly a decade will bring us a word of persistence and hope!

When an immigrant resides with you in your land, you shall not oppress the immigrant.
The immigrant who resides with you shall be to you as the citizen among you;
you shall love the immigrant as yourself, for you were an immigrant in the land of Egypt.

Leviticus 19:33-34

woodcarvingSeveral years ago Don and Betty Balmer gifted Kairos-Milwaukie Church with a valuable classic woodcarving which now hangs in the narthex of the church.

Leroy Setziol was a former Army chaplain and a self-taught wood sculptor whose works have been highly praised by the Northwest’s top midcentury modern architects. He moved to Oregon in 1951 and died in 2005. Much of his work was laboriously carved from black walnut, teak and even everyday Douglas fir, and is secured in many private collectors’ homes. His work is also evident in works commissioned by architects Pietro Belluschi (doors at the University of Portland chapel), John Storrs (panels for Salishan Lodge at Gleneden Beach), and A.P. DiBenedetto (front doors for the Pacific NW Forestry Sciences Laboratory in Corvallis). A two-story teak carving is in the lobby of the Child Development Rehabilitation Center at OHSU. Architect Joachim Grube says, “His sculptures add nobility to space as only true art can do.” We continue to appreciate Setziol’s evocative work and the Balmers for donating this fine work of art to Kairos-Milwaukie UCC.

Some information in this article is credited to Janet Eastman, October 6, 2016, writing for The Oregonian/OregonLive. At that time she reviewed an exhibit of Setziol’s work at the Portland Art Museum.

Vacation Bible School All Summer Long!

Kathy Anderson, Faith Formation Team

Are you an avid gardener? Do you like to cook or bake? Do you enjoy board games or crafting or exploring nature? This summer anyone can sign up to share their interests with our Kairos/Milwaukie kids on any one Sunday. One of our regular teachers will be teamed up with you to help with whatever preparation you need, to introduce you to the group, and to assist with your activity. And, just as in Vacation Bible School, friends and neighbors are welcome to join us. The more kids, the better! Sign-up board is posted in the narthex.

Kairos HikesKairos Hikes

Mica Richards

I love to hike! Perhaps you do, too. I was inspired by Pastor Jeanne’s story of outdoor activities she used to enjoy with her fellow church members in Boulder. Are you interested in enjoying outdoor activities with your Kairos-Milwaukie extended family? Let’s start with a few hikes.

I’m happy to coordinate hikes and provide suggestions of hiking locations based on season, interest, and mobility. I would also love to attend the hikes whenever able. Since I am sometimes called away by family or other obligations, I am looking for a partner to help facilitate.

If you are interested in any way, please reach out to me.