On Sunday, June 27, 2021 we will celebrate “Open and Affirming Sunday” as part of our month-long LGBTQIA+ Pride celebration. We have invited long-time friend Celia Sandhya Daniels to be our guest speaker during our morning Worship Service.
Celia is an entrepreneur, motivational speaker, D&I champion, blogger, composer, musician, photographer, hiker and a filmmaker. She currently resides in southern California with her family. She is an Asian Indian who identifies as Gender Non-Binary and Non-Op trans person of color. Celia brings an intersectional blend of ethnicity, creativity, culture, religion and corporate experience in her “trans-evangelism”, as she likes to call it. She is currently focused on educating and building allies with local communities, business, churches, police dept., therapists, doctors and organizations that fight for civil rights and economic empowerment.
“Open and Affirming (ONA) is the United Church of Christ’s (UCC) designation for congregations, campus ministries, and other bodies in the UCC which make a public covenant of welcome into their full life and ministry to persons of all sexual orientations, gender identities, and gender expressions.”
Forming and Nurturing Our Faith Continuing to Learn and Grow – For All Ages
Faith Formation Resources for the beginning weeks of the new year. Fun projects you can do at home for the entire Family! Click the buttons below to print yours.
Remember: The little ones feel “Quarantine Fatigue” too! It’s important to keep them engaged and provide outlets for their creativity. We know parents everywhere must be chomping at the bit for schools to be back in session and regular activities return to pre-Covid schedules. We hope this series of activities provides some quality time for your family during this holiday season!
21st Sunday after Pentecost Sunday, October 17, 2021 in which We Begin Our Stewardship Season Scripture Reading: Gospel of John 15:9-14 and 17 Worship and Reflection Message: Rev. Stacy L. Thomas Liturgist: Greg Elliot Tech Team: Carla Ritter and Erik Halseth Music: Provided by John Paton and Joan Thompson Deacon of the Day: Ann Smith
For today’s reflection, I offer the following meditation on Our Compassionate God, from the Center for Action and Contemplation (https://cac.org), written by Dr. James Finley and posted on September 29, 2021 (https://cac.org/our-compassionate-god-2021-09-29/). I pray that you find it meaningful and helpful.
Our Compassionate God Wednesday, September 29, 2021
CAC core faculty member James Finley gently reminds us of our infinite preciousness to God. God cannot help but meet us with compassionate love. Offering ourselves compassion is one step to encountering the depths of God’s compassion for us.
Compassion is the love that recognizes and goes forth to identify with the preciousness of all that is lost and broken within ourselves and others. At first it seems as if compassionate love originates with our free decision to be as compassionate as we can be toward ourselves as we sit in meditation. As our practice deepens, we come to realize that in choosing to be compassionate, we are yielding to the compassionate nature of God flowing through us, in and as our compassion toward our self as precious in our frailty.
God is revealed in Christ as a compassionate love that recognizes and goes forth to identify with us as precious in our frailty. This is what Jesus reveals to us in the parable of the prodigal son (Luke 15:11–32). We all know the story of the son who goes off against his father’s wishes and squanders his share of his father’s money. When the money runs out, he realizes how foolish he has been and returns home. . . . As he continues on home, ashamed and remorseful, he is not prepared for the moment in which he first looks up to see his father running toward him with open arms.
The father embraces the son as preciousness almost too precious to bear. The son is at once undone and restored to wholeness in a flurry of embraces received and given. The two of them stand together out on the open road, each laughing and crying at once. Each causes the other to lose his balance as each holds up the other. We can sense in their awkward dance of compassionate love the dance we all long to dance. For we all intuit a taste of heaven in the compassionate embrace that welcomes home one who has been lost. . . .
In the actual moment of encounter there is, for the father and son, nothing but their overflowing, compassionate encounter. The parable reveals God’s version of reality. It reveals the way God always is toward us, regardless of how foolish and hurtful we may have been.
Jim teaches how God’s compassion transforms our brokenness:
As we yield to compassion, we are caught in the updraft of grace that carries us aloft. Then, in one single continuous movement of love, compassion draws us downward into the preciousness of all that is lost and broken within ourselves. The deeper the brokenness, the greater the momentum of the descent. The greater the momentum of the descent, the more deeply compassionate love descends into the innermost recesses of our doubts and fears. Suddenly encountering such love, our doubts and fears melt in the love that sets us free.
James Finley, Christian Meditation: Experiencing the Presence of God (HarperSanFrancisco: 2004), 279–280, 284.
Toward Embracing Abundant Life, Love, Hope, and Compassion Together,
Worship begins at 10:00 AM.
Here is the Zoom Information:
Topic: Sunday Morning Worship Gathering in the Midst
Time: Sundays 9:30 AM Pacific Time (US and Canada)
In anticipation of our Virtual Worship Gatherings beginning on Sunday, March 22, we are sending out this message to help you navigate the virtual meeting platform, called ZOOM, that we will be using. ZOOM is very easy to use, and anyone can join the meetings (Worship Gatherings, or any other meeting, such as Council, Deacons, Mutual Ministry, Transition Team, Beyonders, Women’s Gathering, or other small groups which we anticipate creating during this time).
First, you will receive an e-mail from the person “hosting” (creating, facilitating) the particular meeting.
Open your e-mail message, and read it to make sure you know the date and time of the specific meeting (for example, for Sunday Worship, the meeting date will be March 22, and the time will be 10:00 AM).
There will be a link for you to click on, taking you right into the ZOOM meeting. Alternatively, there will also be a list of phone numbers for you to use if you prefer to join the meeting by calling in. You will need to have the password handy, so that you can enter it, so that you join the right meeting.
Request Your Zoom Link !
The wonderful thing about using ZOOM is that you don’t need a computer or a smartphone, you can use your landline! Everyone will be able to participate.
Approximately at 9:50 AM, on Sunday morning, open your e-mail message with the invitation to Worship, and click on the provided link (or call in by using one of the provided phone numbers).
If you click on the link, you will automatically join the meeting.
If you call in, you will need to provide the given password.
I encourage you to start early, in case one of the phone numbers doesn’t work and you need to try a different one.
Likewise, sometimes it can take a little time to access ZOOM via computer or smartphone, and we want everyone to be able to join the meeting in a timely manner.
We’ll see you in Worship! Watch your e-mail inbox for up-to-date information, and please share it with those who do not have internet access or an e-mail address. Thank you in advance!
Remember, we are all in this together. Even though we may be scattered throughout the county, the state, the country, or the globe, we are still the Church, united together through our love, our compassion, our commitment, and our faith. We are still God’s family. Now, more than ever, we need one another, and we need God. God is always with us, connecting us heart to heart, spirit to spirit. Know that you may contact Rev. Stacy for pastoral care, support, and counseling to help you through this challenging wilderness of the unexpected. Council members are also available to provide their assistance. We ask for your continued patience as we continue to learn to be the Church in new, exciting ways. We are encouraged by the many ideas we have, and the many opportunities this forced physical distance will bring us all. To God be the glory, now and forever. Amen.
With Peace, Grace, Comfort, and Love in the Time of Coronavirus,
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