Kairos-Milwaukie United Church of Christ

KMUCC News & Events

Photo: (c) iStock.com / SunnyGraph (image #695671848)

Photo: © iStock.com / SunnyGraph (image #695671848)

News and events information from KMUCC and the wider community.

 

Photo: © iStock.com / elinedesignservices (image #43282422)During Lent we are invited to ask ourselves, both as individuals and as a community, who am I? What is worth living for? What are my values, and am I living up to them?

As we read the stories of Holy Week, of the failure and abandonment of some of the disciples, the steadfastness of others, we also ask: “what does it mean to misunderstand, to fail? What does it mean to deny, to betray, or to fall asleep when we should have acted? And then, how do we rise again?” (Amy-Jill Levine, “Entering the Passion of Jesus”)

As we move into the mystery and joy of Easter, we celebrate again the Christ who becomes incarnate in order to accompany all of creation, the Christ who suffers in accompaniment with the suffering of creation, the Christ who rises, and accompanies us still. And so, joyfully, we commit ourselves to the work of accompaniment and reconciliation to which Christ calls us. Everything we do and are as a community is born here – in the moment of astonished joy and gratitude to have found ourselves in the company of resurrected Love.

We teach and learn; sing and worship;
We serve each other at coffee hour and in personal acts of visitation, prayer and kindness, serve the men at Hoyt Street shelter, serve Clackamas service center with our donations, serve NWPP with our feet and our donations at the walkathon; serve the wider church, Cetana, our children and youth at camp, the Interfaith Movement for Immigrant Justice, and on and on with our “2-Cents a Meal” donations; we advocate for the earth and protection of the environment;

We show up for Pride Parade, conference gatherings, and demonstrations for immigrant justice, and soon a small group of us, supported and sent by the whole congregation, will show up on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation to learn and serve in solidarity with Lakota people.

All, all, to express the mystery of resurrection that we have experienced and the message we have received:
“You are loved, you are loved, you are loved. God is here. It is enough.”

Photo: © iStock.com / studioworxx (image #180424028)Sunday, April 7, 2019 at 10:00 am

Come and join us for an inspiring service celebrating Earth Day. A special guest who is the Sustainability Management Analyst for the city of Lake Oswego will be joining us to give us tips on things we all can do to protect our precious earth. The KMUCC Green Team will host an information table of where and what to buy to replace plastics. The Green Team is also hosting an earth-centered coffee hour after worship.

Join us for this special celebration of our earth!

For more information about going plastic free and Earth Day 2019 visit:

Photo: © iStock.com / elinedesignservices (image #43282422)(Almost) every Sunday morning, I get to sit right in the front of the church as we gather for worship. I see the congregation build as people come into the sanctuary, some laughing and chatting, some quiet and reflective, sleepy or grumpy, peaceful or bubbling over with cheer -- each one, every one, a needed part of the tapestry of this bright, radiant place.

On Sundays we meet together to ground ourselves in something deep and real and unending. To set our sights on something high and luminous and inviting. We gather to look to each other for understanding and wisdom. To open our hearts to God together. We gather to be reminded that we belong to each other and to rejoice that the whole thing -- our community, our town, nation, world -- belongs to God’s love.

This Lent we’ll try on a new way of gathering to do that grounding, seeking, and rejoicing – a way that invites conversation and participation.

A big deal in our playground recently! A big tree fell down from the wind maybe. No one was hurt, but it damaged a preschool play mountain enough that it is a danger and needs to be removed. The tree was removed by Travis Martin who worked two days and hauled away 7 truckloads of branches. 

Travis and the Big Tree

Then Dave Parker and his son Ryan cut up the big sections of trunk and hauled them away for firewood. Thank you all.

Photo: © iStock.com / Professor25 (image #592643618)Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love. (1 John 4: 7-8)

In a recent sermon I got the chance to reflect on Paul’s description of the church as the body of Christ – one whole, living being to which we each individually belong.

We need each other, and we belong to each other.

But sometimes I wonder if we always “get” each other. I suspect every single one of us has both hidden hurts and hidden treasures within – pools of wisdom, insight, and beauty.

During my sermon I encouraged each of us to consider if there are gifts/skills/talents God might be calling us to use here at church that we haven’t used here before. Gifts that may have been hidden or held in exile until now. 

So many in our community do so much already – faithfully and well! But to allow the freshness of the spirit to play among us, I encourage us all to think not just about jobs, tasks and roles that have been done before, but to ask the potentially more life-giving questions: “What do I do well and love doing well? What ignites my joy?”

And, what lights us up as a congregation?

Here’s what I see from my seat in the sanctuary and congregation: 

Kairos-Milwaukie United Church of Christ is a community built on a deep well of compassionate kindness. We’re motivated by a desire to be part of an ancient thread of light and life and hope that runs right down through human history – the presence of the living Christ. We’re good at being generous. Committed to working for justice. Excellent at making music.

Almost Everything: Notes on Hope by Anne Lamott

almost everything anne lamott cover“I am stockpiling antibiotics for the apocalypse, even as I await the blossoming of paperwhites on the windowsill in the kitchen.” I mean, come on, that’s a good opening sentence, right? Impending dread mixed with the likelihood of future joy, if we can give ourselves the time and vision to see it. Can we acknowledge the dread, yet step away from it, take the deep breath, refocus the vision, and then give into the snort of laughter or lip quiver that comes next? If the answer is yes, you are likely to find value in this book.

In an October New York Times Magazine profile, Lamott was described as a lefty guru of optimism. Five years ago, I would have given that a big eye roll, but optimism seems like a harder lift than it once did. I appreciate what she has to offer.

I have been known to rip through Lamott’s books (around 200 pages lately) the way I can rip through a bag of chips, yet I have found spiritual nourishment in what can seem like a potato chip coating. Her clear writing helps me slow down. In Almost Everything, phrases like, “the nesting doll of you” (oh dear) and the way she neatly drops thoughtful things others have said, such as, “Anytime you are experiencing love, you are experiencing the God we are talking about. But as David James Duncan says, ‘God’ is the ‘worst nickname ever’.” I find different things each time I crack open the book.

(About our Virtual Book Club: KMUCC members are invited to submit a book review of a title they deem of interest to other members of the congregation.)

Photo: (c) iStock.com / Cn0ra (image #1053953266)After the beauty, joy and happiness of advent and Christmas I usually find the New Year’s holiday to be -- not much. I’m a night owl by nature, so I’ve often been awake to see the new years in, and there was that one year during seminary when I ran a 5k with a few thousand other New Yorkers through Central Park right at midnight, that was great good fun. But in general – meh. And because I don’t much enjoy the holiday, I’m not usually much of a New Year’s resolution maker.

But this year? This year I am planning to plant some flowers.
I’m resolving to focus on health and strength and planting only what I hope to see grow in my life. That means better meals and more movement, and a better diet of media consumption. Fewer hours reading political posts that tell me what I already know, and more reading that brings me knowledge, joy and wisdom.

As we together as a congregation, led by our Church Council, engage in visioning for our community I think these may be good resolutions for us as a church too… to focus on our health and strength and to keep planting the kind of goodness we want to see in the world.

And if you make resolutions for yourself I hope you will treat yourself gently – resolving to keep moving forward rather than demanding of yourself that you arrive somewhere very specific before we’ve even set out on this next journey around the sun.
A happy flower-filled new year to one and all