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.
I offer three possible starting points for a conversation about this week’s lectionary readings. You can add your own, starting from an entirely different point.
Starting point number one: Kerygma. It’s the Greek word for “preaching.” It “has come to mean the core of the early church’s” telling of the story of Jesus. The leaders of the early church developed a summary of that story that was usually the beginning point of their sermons. “The term kerygma has come to denote the irreducible essence of Christian apostolic preaching.” I’m not going to try to set that summary in stone. It’s there in the sermon Peter preached after the astounding event experienced by those gathered for Pentecost. Those present wanted to know how and why this was happening?
The portion we are given features Peter standing up, preaching a sermon of explanation. He begins with that summary: “Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with deeds of power, wonders, and signs that God did through him among you, as you yourselves know---this man, handed over to you according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of those outside the law. But God raised him up, having freed him from death, because it was impossible for him to be held in its power.” (vss. 22-24)
How would you summarize what you believe about Jesus? What part of Jesus’ story touches your life, is a source of power and meaning for you?
“The risen Christ calls us and says to us ‘I am here. I am with you. You are not alone.’ And then Christ says to us, ‘now go and tell the others that I am going ahead to God. Go and tell.’ Tell the story of your own transformed life, of experiencing light after darkness, peace in the middle of pain, joy in the midst of fear. Tell the story of Jesus, the story of compassion and grace, share the story of acceptance and inclusion for everyone, the story of healing and liberation. Speak the story of a new realm, the kingdom of God, to which we already belong...”
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On Sunday, March 19, the congregation of Kairos-Milwaukie UCC voted, by secret written ballot, to call the Rev. Jeanne Randall-Bodman as its Settled Pastor. The final tally was 65 in favour, with 1 abstention. Jeanne accepted the call gratefully and enthusiastically, affirmed by smiles and hugs all around.
This overwhelmingly-positive decision was especially meaningful given how important the former pastor was to the spirit and substance of the congregation. For not quite 40 years the Kairos part of the congregation wandered in the wilderness from building to building, following its pastor, Rick Skidmore.
When Kairos joined with the 100-year-old Milwaukie UCC, they kept Rick as pastor in defiance of the common practice of calling a new pastor for the blended congregations, and Rick was accepted by the combined congregations in an almost-seamless transition that has endured over a decade.
Gary Salyers: The Logus Road Preschool shares our Church classroom facilities and contributes to the Church for utilities and other expenses. The Church has always considered the Preschool as one of our missions and has been pleased to contribute to the education of these young children.
There has been a preschool in our Church since the 1960's. The first was a co-op program run by parents with some Church members. In 1977 the Church formed a committee to organize and run our own Church supported Logus Road Preschool. We hired a teacher and 1977-78 was our first school year. The Church Preschool Committee became the governing board. The Board grew and changed over the years as we hired staff, collected tuition, and paid the expenses of the program. We had excellent teachers including Nancy Sharrett, Kim Gilliam and Susan Johnson. The reputation of the Preschool was very good and enrollment always nearly full. However, after more than 25 years, the Preschool Board passed the responsibility off to someone with the time, education and experience to make the program even more successful. Cheryl Forsberg was asked to take over the program and she accepted the challenge.
Cheryl Forsberg: In the spring of 2008, I was approached by the Clackamas County Head Start Pre-Kindergarten Program (OHSPP) about operating a Head Start Preschool at Kairos United Church of Christ. At the time, I was director of Marylhurst Early Childhood Center, a large preschool serving middle to upper income families. The challenge of working with low income families was intriguing to me, and I was looking for a new challenge. Therefore, I formed Early Childhood Education Management Services (ECEMS). My goal was to develop community partnerships to provide the best possible early childhood experience for children ages 3 through 5.
With that in mind, ECEMS contracted with OHSPP to enroll preschool children at Logus Road Preschool. OHSPP provides parenting support through home visits, access to health and dental care, and assistance in locating resources for housing, food, and clothing. North Clackamas School District provides transportation to get children to and from school, and Kairos United Church of Christ provides a warm and welcoming environment.