Grocery Cards for Families in Need
When the closures due to the Corona virus first started happening, our Crater Lake District came up with a way to help families in need. The District Extension Society offered each church in the district $2,000 to purchase grocery cards that would be distributed to the schools. Here in an email from our District Superintendent, John Tucker, the program is explained:
“The idea for Grocery Gift Cards originated from Leroy Barber as a way of responding quickly to a need in a way that shifts our narrative from being concerned about our own congregations to giving ourselves away to vulnerable people. The cards are meant to empower people and give them the dignity to use the cards as they choose. The school districts are the conduit that gets the cards to qualifying families. We are the generous resource with connections to schools. Schools are the vehicles of distribution. Recipients of the cards control how they are used. This is not primarily about giving free food. Many areas are providing meals but people need other supplies that school districts will not provide.” (more…)
I used to laugh at how my mom (a speech and English professor) would read like three newspapers every morning and tear articles out for her files for students to use when preparing speeches. She also would send me articles torn out that she thought I would be interested in. Today, I continue to open files and find those articles with quick notes scribbled in the margins. And she is right there with me in those times. One such article I recently came across was from the New York Times and its title caught my eye – “Where Heaven and Earth Come Closer.” The article was by a travel writer who had come to realize he was drawn to what the Celts referred to as “thin places” He went on to describe them as “locales where the distance between heaven and earth collapses and we’re able to catch glimpses of the divine, or the transcendent or, as I like to think of it, the Infinite Whatever.” These can be buildings, places in nature, experiences with fellow human beings, musical pieces, art, etc. (more…)
Hot Off the Presses!
Our principal at Mills sent an email yesterday titled “Stop the Presses!” We were all poised to start phoning our students at home and procedures changed. My article for this month’s church newsletter has been edited, re-edited, and now I am rewriting it entirely! These are uncertain and strange times we find ourselves in, but as people of faith we need to trust in God. I am not going to tell you not to be afraid, because we all are. But I am going to invite us all to open ourselves to the Spirit, to let the Spirit move and live and breathe in us (I actually think there is a hymn with those lyrics). (more…)
Below my musings you will find the minutes from the council meeting with our district superintendent, John Tucker, held last Friday. I would highly recommend you read through them. John also met with several people not on council to get a good sense of how committed we are to our request for a full time pastor. He came away feeling optimistic about our future. The idea is that he will continue to search for a pastor who would spend 20 hours a week maintaining our current worship service and the other 20 hours a week doing a new church plant (they currently do not have such a critter in our conference, but will look beyond the conference). We are declining in numbers and younger folks are just not interested in how we worship on Sunday mornings. Yes, there are anecdotal examples of young people joining worship services like ours, but all the major research being done says trying to convince young people to join us is fruitless.
We have a flurry of work to be done in the next few months, and once the council has had a chance to review the goals Chrys, Jean, and I worked out with our Rural Church consultant, Lynn Egli, we will get copies of those flow charts to you. We will also begin to ask you to join us in some very specific tasks to prepare ourselves to be a lay led congregation until a full time pastor can be found.
The single most repeated command in scripture is “Be not afraid.” So I invite you to let go of fear, open yourself to the Holy Spirit, and pray, pray, pray for God to send us the pastor who fits with us and our community.
For a copy of the Church Council minutes, please contact the church office at email@example.com.
Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
After sleeping and praying on this, I need to share something with you that really would be better face to face, but it has been increasingly hard for folks to make it to weekly worship. The conference appoints pastors on an annual basis, from July 1 to June 30. I thought I could do both this and my job at Mills Elementary and the task has proven to be too much for me. I will not be continuing as your pastor past June 30. I am not going to be leaving the congregation, just stepping down from being your half-time pastor. I will continue to be active in our Rural Church Engagement Initiative and if no one is appointed for the coming year, most months I will do one Sunday preaching and providing communion.