If you know that God's love embraces all persons equally, no matter their gender, race, or sexual identity...
If you understand that faith is a matter of mind as well as heart, and that taking the Bible seriously means it cannot always be taken literally...
If, for you, diversity, tolerance, and inclusion are strengths to be taught...
If you believe that Christ calls us to be nothing less than global citizens, that the social expression of love is justice and that spiritual concerns are inseparable from a commitment to the natural world...
If you have wished for a more open and embracing community of faith to nurture your spirit and raise your children, and haven't yet found a place of belonging...
... then please know that Kairos-Milwaukie United Church of Christ is the place for you.
We often speak of faith as a journey, which is about right: it’s not a place we stop and stay for good, but it is always moving us along. Sometimes we carry baggage on that journey — a lot of it. Sometimes we travel light.
As little children we are carried along that journey by our families and close communities. And if we have been lucky the baggage that was packed for us included compassion and gratitude, kindness and openness to the world, spiritual resilience and a deep reservoir of confidence in the unending love of God. But even the most well packed baggage needs to be examined and repacked as we get older and begin to make decisions for ourselves.
This fall we will offer the middle and high school students of Kairos-Milwaukie an opportunity to begin that process of exploring the traditions, texts and worship that they have inherited. We’ll talk about the development of Christianity and all its myriad forms and we’ll visit some other churches. We’ll also visit other faith communities as an introduction to the many paths that people travel in the journey toward God. And we will explore the UCC and the unique ways our denomination and congregation seek to follow in the way of Jesus.
There will be retreats and service opportunities along the way, and time for silliness and fun, because joy is part of the spiritual journey too.
At the end of the year, we will celebrate all of the participants during worship and those who choose to may publicly affirm the promises that were made for them when they were baptized as infants or young children.
And for all of the adults among us who are feeling a little like they don’t totally understand or perhaps agree with the spiritual baggage they are currently carrying: welcome to “Theology Distilled,” a small group for seekers -- no matter where you are on the journey of faith. We’ll gather at the Muddy Rudder in Sellwood on the third Tuesday of each month. I’ve got a stack of books to consider, and a list of questions we may want to dig into together, but we’ll let the shape of the group unfold as we journey together.
May the rest of your summer days be blessed with just the right combination of adventure and rest.
Brian Doyle pays attention to the moments of life and inspires us (at least me) to do the same. If we pay attention, something profound, maybe even God, can be seen in those moments.
His novel, Martin Marten culminates with a scene in which Dave, a teenager, and Martin, a marten, share a moment staring at each other a few feet apart on a rock ledge over the Zigzag River near Mt. Hood (Wy’East in the book and according to Native American tradition) here in Oregon. “In a sense, this whole book has been working toward this moment, hasn’t it? Two animals contemplating each other with the fullest and most piercing attention they could possibly bring to this moment . . . (P)erhaps we do not have a word for the way they see each other with something for which we can only use the word reverence. Witness or savor, perhaps? . . . They see each other---and having seen and knowing the alp of the moment, each is---changed. Could it be that moments like this are windows through which we see the endless possibility of deeper moments? Could it be that moments like this are the greatest moments in a life? Could it be that moments like this are the moments that tilt the universe and make possible new ways and means and manners of being?”
“...It is only when we face whatever truth our souls have for us about ourselves, and about ourselves in relation to the world, that we can hear the message of our belovedness...”
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What a joy it is to be part of this quirky, beautiful, faith-full congregation!
Every day that I work in the church building, I take a few minutes to sit in the sanctuary, soaking up the spirit of love and peace woven into the air of that space by years of worship, prayer, love and music. And as I enter I am reminded that “together is a great place to be.” This feels especially true in these troubling times of continuing war and terrorist attacks abroad, and gun violence and an election season filled with misogyny, racism, homophobia and fear here in America. Given all that is troubling in the news, and all the hi-tech avenues we have for accessing news night and day, it is so good to draw apart together, to be reminded of the Amazing Grace that created all that is and sustains us still. When we get overwhelmed for a moment we can lean on each other’s strength, learn from each other’s wisdom and borrow each other’s peace. Renewed, we turn back to the world ready to use that wisdom, strength and peace to help build a better future.
We’ve only just begun our journey together, but already in these first few months as your Designated Pastor I have felt welcomed, challenged, affirmed. I am so grateful to be partnering with you to continue the ministry of worship, celebration, learning, and service in this place. The future here at Kairos-Milwaukie will not just be about what has been done in the past, or just about what I as your pastor can envision, but about the Way that Jesus is opening before all of us together. It will be a group effort, and God may surprise us!
I don’t know yet exactly how it will all look, but I know that it is going to continue to be GOOD!