Monday, October 31, 2016

Looking to the Election

This UCC Daily Devotion was recently forwarded to us by a friend:

Life Stories
John A. Nelson

October 28, 2016

"I am the way, the truth, and the life." - John 14:6

In the United States, we are nearing the end of election season. It's less a contest between persons, more a battle of narratives. In one poet's words, "… Faces, orations, battles bait our will / As questionable forms and noises will."

"Questionable forms and noises" seems an apt description, as ideologies ride roughshod over ideas. The competition for attention and allegiance is fierce, raucous, ugly. What's a faithful person to do?

John's gospel may be especially helpful. It begins by reminding us that our hope is cosmic — "The logos [the essential meaning at the heart of all things] was with God, and the logos was God." John's gospel reminds us that our hope is also particular: in an unplanned provision for a wedding party, an unexpected bounty of food; an unanticipated healing, in signs too numerous to name that declare: God has shown up. In other words, our hope is in the One who bridges earth and heaven, meeting the needs of body and soul.

Which ideology wins an election will influence our lives: granted. But the work of the faithful remains the same, regardless: to answer meaninglessness with purposeful compassion; to respond to exceptionalism with universal forgiveness; to reply to fearful bigotry by taking on the perspective of those who have suffered persistent indignities; to mend the world.

"I am the way, the truth, and the life," said Jesus. Which means for us who follow not simply evoking the name above all names, but electing a narrative that is not on any ballot. We elect the way of love for God's creatures and creation. We elect the truth of God's love for the lost, the lonely, the last, the least, the let down, the left out. We elect the life that would rather give itself up than compromise love.

God of earth and heaven, preserve us from despair or triumphalism in the thin narratives of our own making. Grant us grace to once more find ourselves in your hope-giving story of love unbounded. Give us courage today to choose the way, the truth, and the life that will gladden your heart. In Jesus' name; Amen.

 John A. Nelson is Pastor and Teacher of Church on the Hill, UCC, in Lenox, Massachusetts.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Thursday, October 20, 2016

October Fellowship Dinner

Tonight (Thursday, October 20) at 5:00 pm in Swain Hall, it's Pasta Night! We will have vegetarian and gluten-free options available. The program will be Yvonne Lazago from ViewFinder, speaking on strategies for coping with low vision. Call the church office now to reserve your spot!

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Sun City Farmers Market

In the parking lot of the Bell Recreation Center
Thursdays (starting October 6), 9am-1pm

Organic & seasonal crops, plants & seeds.
Great variety. Farm fresh. Locally grown!

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Monday, October 10, 2016

Hurricane Matthew Relief Efforts

From the Presbyterian Mission Agency:

[God] comforts us in all our trouble so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. (2 Cor. 1:4 NIV)

Presbyterian Disaster Assistance (PDA) urges your support for those affected by Hurricane Matthew. The category 4 hurricane has already been blamed for hundreds of deaths and continues on a path of destruction toward the southeastern US coast. Earliest assessments confirm extensive damage in southwestern Haiti and eastern Cuba. PDA was already active in the area, doing long-term recovery work related to the 2010 earthquake in Haiti and Superstorm Sandy of 2012.

PDA will immediately begin working alongside established partners to respond to this latest crisis. Immediate response will help provide essential food, water, and supplies for impacted communities and villages. As long-term recovery needs are determined, PDA will continue to support those in impacted areas to ensure a comprehensive recovery.

As more information becomes available on conditions in Haiti, Cuba, the Bahamas, and the United States, PDA will update this information and keep the church apprised on the emerging disaster response and community needs for recovery. Thank you for your generosity in prayer and in giving to those whose lives have been impacted by wind and water; as the Holy Spirit once brooded over the unformed waters of the earth and created order and life, so your prayerful gifts bring hope out of chaos.

The needs for the response will be great. God’s people are once again called on to stand in the “GAP”—Give. Act. Pray.

GIVE Financial support for relief efforts can be designated to DR000148 with reference to Matthew. Gifts can be made online, by phone at (800) 872-3283, or by check, which can be mailed to:
Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)
P.O. Box 643700
Pittsburgh, PA 15264-3700

ACT Learn how you and your congregation can help families who have lost everything in the devastation. Stay informed and like us on Facebook, download resources, and share updates with your congregation.

PRAY Pray for those who suffered loss of family or home or for those who are working tirelessly to provide rescue, humanitarian aid, and spiritual and psychological support.

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Hart Pantry Fundraiser

The Hart Pantry provides evening and weekend food for at-risk teens. Next Saturday, support them by chowing down on pancakes at the Applebee's at 93rd Ave. and Northern in Glendale. Tickets are available at the church office during regular office hours.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Photos from World Communion Sunday

Following the joint worship service, we enjoyed baklava brought by our guests from Tucson's Middle Eastern Presbyterian Fellowship.

Monday, October 3, 2016