... to each and Every One for you are All Family ...
"Welcome" from Silverton First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)!
A chuckle and a challenge...
A minister, known for his lengthy sermons, noticed a man get up and leave midway through the service. After the service was over, he spotted the guy and asked where he'd gone. "To get a haircut," he said. "But", said the minister, "why didn't you do that before the service?" "Because," the man explained, "I didn't need one then!"
One day Frank walked up to Pastor Leanne and said he is interested in becoming a member of the church. Pastor Leanne was delighted. That is, until Frank added, "Do keep in mind that I'm very busy, so don't call on me to serve, teach, sing, or help out in any way that will take time. And don't be surprised if I'm not in worship that often." Pastor Leanne thought a moment and then said, "Frank, you are joining the wrong church. The church you are looking for is 10 blocks down the street." Curious, Frank drove ten blocks to check it out, and there it was...an abandoned, boarded up, closed church building.
God Bless all who serve, teach, sing, and help out in so many ways!
Joy, Pastor Steve
July and August 2019 ~ News from Pastor Steve ~
July in Oregon is as good as summer can get (in my humble opinion). Lots of sunshine and still some green in the valley. I love Fourth of July celebrations. Our annual family reunion is this month. Sometimes we go on a vacation.
Summer means a lot of work in fields and farms. It means a lot of play, too, for young and old. I hope you let the summer mornings work their magic, and summer evenings cast their spell. I hope you see in the shimmering heat a glimpse of God's presence. I hope you agree with the Psalmist: "From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets, the name of the Lord is to be praised."
Is this the season for a new book? Is it a good time to explore? The other day Christy and I drove from a grad party in Mt. Angel to Portland and the GPS suggested a route we've never been before. Houses, farms, cows and goats, that we've never seen before, and a different perspective on Mt. Hood in the distance. Maybe summer is the time to see and experience some things differently. Take a walk into a neighborhood you've never been, and wander into a local store you've never entered. Why not? It's summer. Time for adventures.
What would happen if we all entered the church on Sundays with that same adventurous spirit? What if we came eager to discover a new insight, to see or experience something previously unexplored?
I think that can happen for any of us who dare to open our hearts and minds to the fresh winds of the Spirit.
June 1, 2019 = News from Pastor Steve ...
Long ago I met someone who made me laugh. And laugh and laugh. So I married her. It wasn't jokes or one-liners or clever puns that made Christy Barnes so funny. It was the way she observed and was tickled by the quirky awkward things in every day life, her many voices, her infectious laughter.
In the first few days of college we discovered each other. And it was humor that initially got our attention. Soon I found myself maneuvering to be near her - in the cafeteria line, the lunch tables, Bible classes, the social hang out rooms. Always angling to be somewhere in her orbit so I can listen to her, watch her, maybe catch a conversation with her.
Isn't love grand? It took us a long while to become a serious committed couple. We had previous relationship feelings to tend to. We had studies to focus on. We had no intention of marrying anyone for at least a few years.
So we just slowly let a fun friendship evolve. Laughter led to conversations which led to deep appreciation and admiration which led to a realization that this is the one for me. Physical attraction grew, commitments were made, arguments and fights erupted and resolved, and then in our senior year of college it was time to tell our families and the world that we are (sing along with me here) "going to the chapel and we're going to get maaaaa-rried!"
Forty years later I am still quite in love with Christy Barnes-Knox. Some things have changed, but our friendship, our laughter, our shared journey with God and with each other, remains to this day.
So, here's to fun friendships that deepen and evolve over time, whether it becomes your marriage mate or your coffee comrade. That companion, buddy, friend, lover, maybe your grown child, who walks the long road with you is a gift of life that you dare not take for granted. Tend that relationship well. And thank God every day.
May 1, 2019 - News from Pastor Steve
I think this is a great church. In fact, I've sometimes imagined if we were new to town and visited this church I think we would probably feel at home and would rapidly enter into the life of this church family.
I've imagined walking through the doors of the sanctuary feeling welcomed by the bulletin greeters, and a few others who step up and say hello. We would notice some music is happening inside the sanctuary and go sit down. Knowing me (I'm reserved when I'm new to a place) I'd motion to Christy to sit toward the back. We'd sit, look around. Look at the bulletin. And I imagine there might be a tap on my shoulder and I'd turn and there's a smiling face and a warm welcome. They'd say their names, and we'd tell them ours, and they might ask if we are new in town. Maybe chat a minute.
We would love seeing the children up front for Kid Time, and absorb into our hearts the songs and music. I'd listen intently to the sermon (might even jot down a couple notes). On the way out of the sanctuary I'd try to shake the minister's hand and say a little something. If the minister looks at me and listens that would mean something to me.
Would we go next door for coffee and conversation? Hmmm, maybe not. Still feeling reserved, I could easily talk us out of it. But if that guy who tapped me on the shoulder said, "I'd like to buy you both a free cup of coffee - ha! Come stay and visit awhile...", well then I might (somewhat reluctantly) go into the multi-purpose room.
Can you imagine being new, walking in, and how much it matters that every person is genuinely warm and friendly and inviting?
All the seemingly small acts of grace - a handshake, focused listening, inviting the newcomer to sit at the table and talk - is really not small stuff. Remember that in God's Kingdom big is small and small is big. So that hand on the shoulder, that saying the child's name each time you see them, and that phone call to check on someone who has been absent awhile, is huge.
April 1, 2019 - News from Pastor Steve ...
A few not quite random thoughts about the cross...
"This is our God. Not a distant judge nor a sadist, But a God who weeps. A God who suffers, not only for us, but with us. Nowhere is the presence of God amidst suffering more salient than on the cross. Therefore what can I do but confess that this is not a God who causes suffering. This is a God who bears suffering".
-Nadia Bolz-Weber, Pastrix
"A sculptor fashioned in clay the perfect statue, then became afraid that the night frost might freeze the clay and shatter the statue. So, he arose in the night and put his bed clothes around the statue, and in the morning was himself found dead from the cold. The good Lord Christ has wrapped his life round our life, which (God knows) is no perfect statue..."
-George Buttrick, "The Death of Christ"
lecture at Union Seminary
"This is how we've come understand and experience love: Christ sacrificed his life for us."
I John 3:16, The Message
~ Pastor Steve
A major remodeling project was recently completed on the sanctuary and an adjacent classroom space. Beginning Sunday, June 17th (Father's Day), and until the project was complete, Morning Worship was held in the multi-purpose room with the congregation sitting on chairs around the large round tables instead of in pews. It is an exciting time as "this generation" of worshipers prepares the place of worship for the future.
• a new and updated look to the sanctuary,
• new carpeting,
• a more welcoming entrance,
• ADA access improvements,
• new more convenient nursery and pre-school facilities,
• additional and more convenient restrooms,
• improved/updated sound and media equipment,
In a recent discussion with a member of the community, a lady shared it has been her experience we have a very relaxed and inclusive church. Seems we are following our identity, "We are Disciples of Christ, a movement for wholeness in a fragmented world. As part of the one body of Christ, we welcome all to the Lord's Table as God has welcomed us."
(Another statement from our denomination's website notes: "We practice unity and inclusion at the Lord's Table. All are welcome to the Lord's Table for the sake of mission and for the sake of the world as the one family of God. Most congregations do this by celebrating communion every Sunday.")
One of the many ministries based out of FCC's congregation and facilities has become very ecumenical with multiple churches and other groups and organizations helping at every step. Nearly 10 years since it was a mere twinkle of a light in someone's soul, the Wednesday Community Dinner is nearing 190,000 meals served.
An amazing 'happening' takes place beginning early in the morning as folks gather to begin preparations for the doors opening at 5 p.m. and the long and continuing line that will make its way until 7 p.m. - to be served and to dine and fellowship.
It has been mentioned that our Sunday morning service is a "medium-sized congregation" celebrating Open Communion each week. Come Wednesday evening, the facility houses a near "mega-church" - and the gathering becomes something nearing the epitome of Open Communion for anywhere from 350-500+ souls ... for some, this is not only a meal filling their tummy, but a time of social and spiritual filling though there is no proselytizing. For some, this 'is' their "going to church event." Every age is represented, many needs are met. At any table you may find a homeless teen sharing a meal and conversation with an elderly individual, a group from the deaf community carrying on beautiful conversation, a mix of nationalities or cultures, and any and all spiritual (and non-spiritual) leanings from across the community. https://www.marionpolkfoodshare.org/wednesday-night-dinner-lifts-community/
It's a beautiful thing when Spiritual Folk come together, listen and respond to a call to minister. Our "relaxed, inclusive" and beautiful church family finds immense joy in being home to and a partner in multiple ministries. We welcome all to fellowship, learn, grow, and share with us in this journey ...
Joy to you and Shalom.