PACE November 2017

 

Photo: (c) iStock.com / marekullasz (#484416138)PACE Monthly Newsletter for November 2017

Online Edition

 

 

 

 

Photo: (c) iStock.com / fcscafeine (#511580382)Many of us at Kairos-Milwaukie UCC are on a journey to learn or revisit our families’ immigration stories and see how they connect with our country’s immigration history or our own lives and values. Most importantly, WHY did our ancestors immigrate to the United States? Were they motivated to come here because they suffered religious persecution, poverty, racial intolerance. Or, turning those reasons on their positive heads, did they come searching for freedoms and opportunities they felt they could not realize in their home countries? We often don’t know the reasons but can begin to understand the connection by researching our ancestors.
Connecting my own myriad ancestry dots is a puzzle with many missing pieces, some of which I am finding in unlikely places. My first name was a last name several generations ago. The Macy family history has a long reach in the United States. The best known Macy is probably Thomas Macy, who emigrated from England to Massachusetts in the mid-1600s. A lifetime Baptist, he was at odds with the Puritans who were the center of the political and spiritual life. Church attendance was compulsory and its upkeep financed through taxation. In the summer of 1657, Thomas Macy harbored four Quakers for less than an hour in his home during a severe rainstorm. His neighbors reported his generous but unlawful act. In May 1657 a law had been passed against harboring ‘any of the cursed sects of Quakers’. His act of kindness caused the Court to fine him 30 shillings and to be admonished by the governor.
Two years later, Thomas Macy and 17 others purchased land on Nantucket Island. He, his family and five others rowed there in a small boat — a journey still perilous today. Nantucket was not subject to the strict Massachusetts Bay Colony Puritan regulations.
Native Americans on the island helped these first white settlers make it through the first hard winters. I don’t know how he treated them or others who were in a less privileged position than he was as merchant and local magistrate. There are many more pieces to connect. However, it’s heartening to know this part of my family history — that at least some of my long-ago ancestors did some kind deeds and worked against intolerance.
We are on an amazing journey to discover more of who we are through learning more about our ancestors — not so much the statistics of their birth and death dates and places, but the WHY of their immigrations and their life changes. It is a sacred journey I am happy to take.
We would like to plan our next Immigrant Welcoming event for Sunday, November 26 (I know,  I know, it's thanksgiving weekend, but it's the only day that really works...)  ....a brief introduction to the history of immigration and locating our ancestors’ places on the timeline.
Photo: (c) iStock.com / Olgaorly (#497533220)Sunday, November 5 is All Saints Sunday, a day set aside in many denominations to celebrate and give thanks for the ones who have gone before us, the ones whose lives lit up at least our corner of the world. People whose joy, courage, commitment, love and generosity continue to sustain our spirits.
As I sit writing this, the view out my office window is bright with beauty -- gold autumn leaves against a serene blue sky.
As sit writing this, one of the victims of the shooting in Las Vegas is receiving death threats and my twitter feed is lighting up with news of a deadly attack in lower Manhattan.
As I sit writing this, the preschool children are gathering in the hallway and the whole building is resounding with their singing, Halloween excitement, and laughter.
As I sit writing this millions of people in Puerto Rico are STILL without power seven weeks after the hurricane and tensions between the United States and North Korea continue to escalate.
My heart is filled with gratitude and high hopes. My heart is dismayed.
As we head into the season of days closing in, and family gathering around for feasting and gratitude, where we lose the light of the sun and long for the light of Christ, it is good to remember that we are not alone.
The first All Saints Sunday lectionary reading offers us a vision of a great multitude gathered around God’s throne; a multitude too great to be counted, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages. The saints I look to include luminaries whose names everyone knows: Bonhoeffer and Hildegard, Julian and Martin Luther King, Oscar Romero and Dorothy Day.  
But also, my college track coach, my beloved Uncle Emil and Aunt Jeanne, Episcopal priest and college chaplain Father Staples, and my great, good friend Joe.  All of them have gone ahead into the great mystery of God’s love.   Each one blessed my life by the way they lived, by the way they loved.
And now, with the insider’s view of one lucky enough to serve a church, I see that there are saints and angels all around us all the time, unheralded, working often without public recognition.  Loving the world, loving each other, illuminating the way for each other in dark times.
"Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and fear that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith..."
Photo: (c) iStock.com / -lvinst- (#853267598)As we begin to think about November and things we are thankful for – I hope we will all take a moment and consider those less fortunate.  For no matter how difficult life might be for us right now, there are always those who are much less fortunate. 
Consider giving to help those devastated by hurricanes (especially Puerto Rico), fires (Northern California) and genocide (Myanmar).  Make your check out to Kairos-Milwaukie and monies will go directly to relief efforts – through the UCC where possible.
Consider volunteering for Hoyt Street and help serve meals to men moving from homelessness to productive pursuits.  See Linda Ricketts for details.  We may also try serving meals at the Clackamas Service Center if we have the resources and manpower (or womanpower) available.  See Russ Martin for details.
Of course, service to members of our congregation is also valued.  We have so many who volunteer time and donate goods.  Our church functions as efficiently as it does because these in-kind gifts greatly reduce our expenditures.
I encourage you to give of your time and money to the causes which have a special meaning to you - to those things you are passionate about - as we each do our part to make a better world.
While I am thankful for many things this November, I am especially grateful to be part of such a welcoming, nurturing, energetic and caring congregation.  I am old enough to know just how very special a place like this is. 
Two very important items need to be brought to the attention of the entire congregation.
1. We want to help with relief efforts, especially in Northern California and Puerto Rico.  It was suggested that we tithe a portion (10%) of the bequest from the estate of Lola Raz for this purpose.  The Council agreed, and will provide matching funds for gifts given by November 5.  We will match up to a total of $1,400.  You may designate which region you want your gift to go to.  Additionally, some have indicated a desired to assist Rohingya refugees who have been fleeing Myanmar (if so, please so designate on your gift).  Gifts not designated will be split 50/50 between Northern Calif. and Puerto Rico, and will be sent to UCC service providers.  The needs in these areas are great and I hope we can each do our small part to ease the suffering.
2. We need new windows.  Pete Rux secured three bids for new energy-efficient windows for the six rooms in the education wing.  The best bid ($9,200 from Windows Only) was approved by Council.  For expenditure this large a congregational vote is required.  Some of the windows currently leak; one has been replaced with plastic.  New windows will make the building safer and more secure and we should see cost savings for energy.  We have scheduled a brief Congregation Meeting for immediately after worship on Sunday November 5th.  The funds would come from excess monies in the Roof Fund.  Additionally, at this time we would encourage you to submit WRITTEN ideas for use of the remaining Roof funds (approx. $3500).  Expenditures should relate to building and grounds, be relatively inexpensive, and have a positive impact on our church experience.

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