By the time you read this, the first Sunday of October will be right around the corner. Every “first Sunday” is special for us here at Klamath Falls First UMC, as it is in most churches in our denomination, and others, because we celebrate the Sacrament of Holy Communion as a central part of our worship on that Sunday. But the first Sunday in October has special meaning for us, as it does for other sisters and brothers in Christ, because we celebrate it as World Communion Sunday.
“Fall Back?” Not a Chance!!
If you’re like me, you probably have memorized that little phrase that helps us keep straight in our minds how daylight saving time works: “Spring forward, fall back.” Now, “fall back” is a term that has several applications in our contemporary culture, most of them having to do with the idea of ceasing to move ahead – ceasing to make progress. I started thinking about this phrase the other day as I was reflecting on the fast-approaching end of summer and our return, here at Klamath Falls First UMC, to our fall schedule. Normally, one thinks of the summer season as a “down” time – a time when “not much is going on.” That’s often the case in church settings, when volunteer leaders and workers take a well-deserved and much-needed break from their busy routines. But this summer has been anything but “down” here at KFFUMC! Have you stopped to reflect on all that has been happening around your church this summer?
Let me share with you just some of the wonderful things that have happened during these “lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer:”
A “Hello” from Pastor Phil and Laurie
What a joy it is to be able to use this first newsletter article to introduce ourselves and share with you the joy and excitement we feel in having the privilege of becoming a part of the Klamath Falls First UMC family! We have looked forward to our arrival for many months, and are so grateful for the many ways in which God has so graciously worked out all the details in making possible this coming year together as pastor and people.
Here’s a few bits of information about us that may help start the process of getting to know one another:
I have a book I’d like to tell you about: A Change of Pastors, by Loren B. Mead of the Alban Institute, an organization which studies clergy and congregation life and offers them practical help. The title is telling, of course, and the reason I picked it up years ago, but the subtitle, And How It Affects Change in the Congregation, is more telling (and what the book is really about). It turns out that Mead means for this book to be both a practical help for congregations undergoing a change of pastor and an encouragement not to fear. Indeed, he expects congregations to flourish from it, even to be catalyzed by it, as a change in pastors opens them to other transformations in their life together.
Near the end of the book, Mead writes about change in congregations. He knows people care deeply about their congregations; they also, at the same time, have a gut feeling that things could be better than they are. He knows, too, that congregations resist any and almost all opportunities to change the ways things are. He says that there is good news and bad news in this state of affairs, both for congregations and for those who grow frustrated trying to bring about their things could be better than they are feeling to reality.
In my family growing up, my dad was the one who bought cards for special occasions, occasions like Mother’s Day. All I knew was that a few days before some card giving day, he’d call me to the kitchen table and pull out a selection of cards from a brown paper envelope and have me choose one of the cards, like one to give my mom on Mother’s Day. He was ever so thoughtful in not wanting me to fail in her eyes on account of me not having a card for her. You’d think I’d be an avid card-giver now as an adult; you’d be wrong. Despite being practiced at giving cards, I was never practiced at buying them—browsing the display, touching this one and then that one, pulling one out, reading it, slipping it back as my eyes scan for another. Consequently, I am a last minute card shopper, of the sort who rushes in on the eve of a special day and grabs whatever is most quickly appropriate. This is just to say that Mother’s Day is coming up, so . . .
On Saturday, April 21 from 1 to 4 p.m. at First United Methodist Church in Medford, United Methodists from across the region will participate in a Table Talk conversation as a way to engage the church’s current global discussion of human sexuality and the report of the Commission on a Way Forward, a commission of the Council of Bishops created at the last General Conference held in Portland, Oregon in 2016.
Bishop Elaine Stanovsky, episcopal leader of the Oregon-Idaho Conference of United Methodist churches will be present.
The Commission on the Way Forward has been working to help the Council of Bishops lead the church forward amid the present impasse over the inclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer persons, both lay and clergy, in the life of the church and the resulting questions about the unity of the church.