Category Archives: church

A Quote

via Sojourners

Renewal does not come before mission, but in mission.

– Mortimer Arias,

Protestant church worker in Bolivia

 

Thought this was particularly interesting in that our church must go through a time of renewal – almost a restart – as our congregation is aging. 

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The Best Birthday Ever

The party which my family and friends threw for me last night was honestly one of the best parties I have ever been at and certainly the best one ever held in my honor.  It was just so much fun.

I think having Dale Nikkel and Kimbal Siebert do their house concert at our house was brilliant.  They were so good.  I’d do that again any day.  And I would recommend it to anyone as well.

Now, I must get to church for practice.  The family is getting up and moving and will be coming later.

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Read what he says.

The ideas that Jordon speaks about here keep popping back into my head.

I think these changes that make our communities better places are part of what we are called to as Christians, a huge part of how we are to influence our world to become safer more loving places to live.

Read what he says.  It is worth your time.

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I can’t help it

Maybe I should not write a post when I am upset. I think I am most likely to rant.  I need to rant.

I hate protocols and precedents. It seems to me that they kill spontaneity. They squelch a response to God’s spirit moving; calling us to act. They kill love and all the flexibility and responsiveness that a loving relationship needs to grow and flourish as part of God’s great gift of creativity.

Protocols seems to me the way an organization responds. But a community, a family and a living body, when it is forced to adapt to hard and fast rules becomes dysfunctional, I think. So is the church the body, living and responsive, or is it set and hardened within sets of rules?

When we give protocols and policies a higher place than the practice of love we are not practicing the faith Jesus taught us. It was one of his big struggles as he walked among a land full of religious leaders who had forgotten the real meaning of God’s law.

In Matthew 23: 23 and 24 Jesus said, “What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you are careful to tithe even the tiniest income from your herb gardens, but you ignore the more important aspects of the law—justice, mercy, and faith. You should tithe, yes, but do not neglect the more important things. Blind guides! You strain your water so you won’t accidentally swallow a gnat, but you swallow a camel!

There, now I feel slightly better.

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A Push From The Almighty

It was a beautiful morning as I left home just before sunrise this morning.  The sky was one of those amazing shades of pinky orange and I had a few extra minutes before I was due at the church for worship music practice.  I had my camera in my purse and on the spur of the moment decided to take a short detour in order to get a better picture of the sky.

You know what that means – short detours have a way of taking you  places you had NO intention of ending up. 

I thought that the road leading down to the sewage treatment plant, just on the edge of town, a few minutes from the street I take to get to church anyway, would give me the view I wanted – lots of sky and trees on one side, river on the other.

I didn’t think I was driving that close to the side of the road.  But it was way softer than I anticipated and my front right wheel got caught in the soft snow on the shoulder.  It was as if an irresistible force took hold of that wheel and pulled me right down there into the ditch. 

So, there I was.  At the bottom of a deep ditch in soft snow.  My spare minutes for photography were all of a sudden used up and I was not exactly at the church. 

I think I got a good dose of my father’s stubbornness.  I flashed back to one of those times when we, the whole family in the car, were hopelessly stuck in some mud hole on a dirt road that he had thought worthy of exploration.  We would all end up having to push or walk to the nearest farm to get help.  I swore I would never be like that! 

At least, I was alone.  Stupid maybe, but alone with my stupidity.  My stubbornness showed up about then and I decided that I would just drive out.  After all, I have a 4 wheel drive vehicle.  Well, maybe not meant for off-roading but 4 wheel drive should be good for something.  And, I was not stuck.  I mean the vehicle could move – parallel to the road in the ditch – quite freely. 

We did it, that CRV and me.  And maybe the Almighty gave me a small push between his guffaws of laughter at this silly woman who he loves too much to imagine, this daughter of another one of his beloved children.  Maybe they both had a good laugh.

I was only ten minutes late for practice.  It was a particularly good and joyful morning as I had a good laugh at myself too.

No pictures though.  The orange of the sky had disappeared.

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Change

I’ve just come home from my last council meeting. I’ve served enough time they are letting me go free. I guess it has been almost ten years now, some under the old board system and now a couple of terms under the new council one.

They have been good years. Sometimes the meetings were hard; for me a non-administrative type, quite hard in those first years when I was trying to follow the acceptable procedure of drawing up proper agendas, making motions, trying to follow the correct protocol. It is good that we had a pastor leader who helped us learn to lead in more of a style that was suitable for us non-CEO types, who helped us focus on the important work of the church without getting stuck on protocol. Goodness knows there were enough people around who would straighten us out on the protocol if we forgot it. It is good to have those consultants around too, you know, when the situations needing protocol and such arise.

Today, I have begun the mourning process for this loss of function. I was reflecting on what a gift it has been to work for the church in its leadership, what a growing experience it has been to be so involved. The growth has occurred both because I have given myself to the tasks needing to be done and because I have been able to work closely with others who shared this same spirit of devotion and commitment, both to God and to the body of believers that we call Gateway. I am going to miss this level of involvement.

But of course there are new days ahead. There are new ways to serve and I am pretty sure that with a bit of effort, I’ll find my place, a bit of a new place perhaps. Maybe I will try some new ways of being part of these people I worship with. Right now it is a bit hard and there are tears of separation down inside kind of welling up making this screen blurry.

And since it is late, perhaps I had better go to sleep.

There are some people I want to spend some time praying for in the morning. 

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Week of Prayer

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The week of prayer at our church has become an important marker in our church year.  We usually do this just before Advent starts although our denomination marks the month of January for this emphasis.  This year things were just too full of events, besides just getting used to functionning without a pastor, to arrange a week for it so we chose the first week in January to set up our stations of prayer.

They went up on Sunday Jan 4 and came down on the 10th.  Pictures of what we did at those stations can be seen and followed on Flikr and on Resonate Stories.

This is some of the work I love to do most in the church – hoping that others will experience some of the relationship with God that is so good.  Walking around the church with the best friend who loves me and doesn’t mind if I come back and walk this path many times, telling him my same old stories, listening to my concerns and sometimes letting me catch glimpses of what he is like.  It is a good week no matter what time of the year we set it up.

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Filed under church, Photos, Worship events