Thursday, February 26, 2015

Radical Radio - the 1960s

It was a radical idea for a church communications agency in the 1960s, but the motivation was just as groundbreaking: getting whites and blacks to talk to each other — over the airwaves — during a period of incredible racial tension in the United States.
The vehicle for that dialogue was “Night Call,” one of the first national radio call-in shows.
The creators were part of the Television, Radio and Film Commission of the Methodist Church, also known as TRAFCO, which eventually would evolve into United Methodist Communications.
Although an earlier version of Night Call aired in 1966-67, the show caught fire when it launched again in June 1968, the tumultuous period after the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.
“It was launched to create dialogue and to let the steam off and to avoid violence,” remembered Price, the show’s executive producer. “It was a very volatile, scary time.”

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

The Covenants God Keeps (1): Water

2015/02/22 Christ Church, Mountain Top
Call to Worship, Psalm 25.1-10
Children, Mark 1.9-15
Message, Genesis 9.8-17, with 1 Peter 3.18-22

Mike, the hunter
      Gun racks
      Bow racks

“I have hung [set] my bow in the clouds!” (Gn 9.13)

Covenant: Treaty, agreement – sometimes between equals, sometimes between kings/lords and their vassals – to provide shape to the relationship, clarify expectations, provide guarantees
      Biblical covenants with God always initiated by God!
            God wants relationship with us!
      Broken over and over by us, kept by God
            Tree of the knowledge of good and evil

The LORD saw that the wickedness of humankind was great in the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of their hearts was only evil continually. And the LORD was sorry that he had made humankind on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart (Genesis 6.5-6)

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Souper Bowl of Caring

The Super Bowl was a fantastic game, for fans of competitive and exciting football. Unfortunately for me, I was rooting for the team that lost. However … in our own Christ Church Souper Bowl the winner is … THE SEATTLE SEAHAWKS. The total pounds collected for each team:
                Colts, 30 pounds
                Patriots, 65 pounds
                Packers, 100 pounds
                Seahawks, 115 pounds

Thanks for your generosity. This represents around 300 meals for hungry neighbors! And, thanks to Bruce and Jane who picked up the "loot" to deliver to the Mountain Top Food Bank.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Haiti Partnership Update

The Haiti Partnership sent a team of nine from Central United Methodist Church in Honesdale to Petit Goave to work at an agricultural school in Vialet. Much needs to be done to reopen this school but the possibilities are endless.

It was really exciting to be the first team on this work site. We all truly appreciated how important this school can be to Haiti and it's people.

The week was very rewarding. We worked on the security wall and helped prepare the directors house for future teams to stay on site. 

The local church brought a group of 60+ children for VBS each afternoon. We told Bible story's, acted out skits, played games ( the children LOVED the parachute and beach balls!), had snacks and just had a blast. By the end of the week, many of the local children came and joined in. We delivered back packs with school supplies to a local school. The school seemed so small, especially when the director told us it usually hosts up to 500 students! The students come in 2 shifts so all can be accommodated. 

We visited an eye clinic and donated 30 pair of eyeglasses that a local optometrist gave us. Our interpreter was Jean Claude. He was buried in the rubble in that particular clinic by the earthquake of 2010. He shared his story of survival with the team on the 5th anniversary of the earthquake. And then to visit the site -it gave us all goose bumps!

For more information about the Haiti Partnership, please visit our website at

Jodi Crimmel
Haiti Partnership

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Haiti recovers - a photo journey

On Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2010, at 4:53 p.m., a 7.0-magnitude earthquake shook apart Haiti’s heart. The epicenter was 16 miles from the capital of Port-au-Prince, killed more than 200,000 and affected 3 million.
Five years later, most of the rubble has been cleared but the aftershocks are still being felt. The United Methodist Church joined hands with the Eglise Méthodiste d'Haïti (Methodist Church of Haiti)  in the first terrible days and have worked side by side every day since.
United Methodist Communications photographer Mike DuBose was in Haiti days after the quake, Jan. 22-29, and later in November 2010. He returned in 2013 and 2014. These photographs are records of how life has changed and how much life still needs to change for the people of Haiti.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Holy Mess (6): Judgment

2015/02/15 Christ Church, Mountain Top
Call to Worship, Psalm 109.21-31
Children, Mark 9.2-8 (Transfiguration Sunday)
Message, John 8.2-11, Romans 8.1-4

An introductory academic matter regarding our text from John’s gospel: You may see in your Bible a notation that indicates that most ancient copies of the text of John’s gospel do not include this story. Some of the texts include it here or in two other places in John’s gospel. One family of texts places it in Luke’s gospel. And, within the story itself, there are some variations of the text, more than typical. This is the only “free-floating” (Culpepper, 170) text that shows up in the Bible and there is a good bit of scholarly conversation on this topic. I read four different academic commentaries on the text and each one of them had a different approach to the authority and history of this text. I am not addressing that today, only acknowledging it. It’s in the book, and we’re using it.
      I do want to make one comment on the general question of textual accuracy of the Scriptures, because I have heard from so many folks that, “You know, you just can’t trust the reliability of the text. Probably early Christians changed things to make it read the way they wanted.” There is absolutely no evidence that is the case. In fact, the New Testament includes so many stories and texts that posed difficulties for the first readers, and they kept those difficulties in the text. There are multiple variants, yes. That’s because this text, our Bible, was so loved and reverenced that it was copied thousands of times by hand and preserved and read by communities all over the world. Having these multiple copies has made it possible for scholars to reconstruct the textual history of the New Testament to an accuracy of over 99.9%. So, when you hear someone say, “Well, we just don’t know what the text originally said”, you don’t need to start an argument and you don’t need to doubt. Some comparisons: The earliest copies of the works of Greek historian Herodotus come 1300 after the originals were written, in the year 900, and there are only 8 early copies from that time. The earliest copies of Caesar’s Gaelic War are 950 years after the originals were written, again in the year 900, and there are only 10 copies from that time. The New Testament writings were widely circulated during the lifetime of the first witnesses to Jesus, and despite being written after Herodotus and Caesar, the earliest copies date to 130, and we have discovered over 25,000 manuscripts all of which date within the first 310 years! (Nicky Gumbel, 8).

Today’s theme is judgment, and there is so much to discuss around judgment. As we wrap up our “Holy Mess” series, we remember that on so many of these issues we have discussed – human sexuality, human life, church and state, science and faith – we line up against each other in judgment, as if in firing lines. My hope has been that we would learn to “be of one heart while not of one mind” (John Wesley).
      Sometimes judgment is all about what I do to myself. I’m not good enough at this. I performed poorly at that. I lost my temper. I was rude, and it doesn’t matter that I am really tired – I was just rude. I’ll never be what I hope to be.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Acolyte Guild

Our acolyte guild is one of the ways our young people learn to lead. Thanks to Paul for coordinating!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Mission Central - Small Stuff

"The people brought children to Jesus, hoping he might touch them. The disciples shooed them off. But Jesus was irate and let them know it: "Don't push these children away. Don't ever get between them and me. These children are at the very center of life in the kingdom. Mark this: Unless you accept God's kingdom in the simplicity of a child, you'll never get in." Then, gathering the children up in his arms, he laid his hands of blessing on them.

(Mark 10:13-16, Peterson's The Message)

Caller: "By any chance, do you have a walker for a four year old?" A negative reply almost passed the lips of the receptionist. Instead she said, "I don't ever remember seeing one before, but let me look." The little boy had just had surgery on both legs and needed a walker to help him be mobile.

When the big box of medical equipment was examined, there was not one child-sized walker, but six of them. 

None of us know when they came in, but they were right on time to meet this request.

At Mission Central, we connect God's resources with human need. When the item arrives just as we need it, we recognize a God Moment ~ God's grace working to meet a need, and we give thanks.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Scout Sunday 2015

Thanks to Steve and the Scouts for another wonderful Scout Sunday. We are so proud of our Scouts, their service in our community, and their growth as leaders.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Fabricating Submarines (1)

The confirmation class, along with leaders, mentors, and parents, gather each year to make subs on Super Bowl weekend. They raise funds for some of the special opportunities that are part of the confirmation experience. Thanks to class leaders Tim & Kim and all the parents and mentors for another wonderful year.

Saturday, February 14, 2015


Things you can do with M&M's ... which I learned from some of our youth and children.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Holy Mess (5): Church & State

2015/02/08 Christ Church, Mountain Top
Call to Worship, Psalm 2
Children, Daniel 3
Message, Matthew 22.15-22

Nick Naylor, the main character in both the movie and book Thank You for Smoking, is a lobbyist for Big Tobacco. (I have neither read the book nor seen the movie.) There is a scene between Nick and his son Joe as Joe is trying to learn what the father does. Dad, Nick, says that “I am never wrong; if your job is to be right, then you are never wrong”, and they set up a simple debate to demonstrate. Ice cream – chocolate or vanilla? Nick says that this is an argument you can’t win. You love chocolate? It is the “be all and end all” for you? Great. “I need more than chocolate, and for that matter I need more than vanilla. I believe that we need freedom and choice when it comes to our ice cream and that, that is the definition of liberty.” “But you didn’t prove that vanilla is the best. You didn’t convince me.” “But I proved that you are wrong and if you are wrong, then I’m right. And I’m not after you, I’m after them.”

This is called “rejecting the premise of the question”, a technique that every successful lobbyist, politician, and commentator masters. And a technique that is pretty helpful to parents as well. In the adversarial situations of life, the “gotcha” element is in the premise of a question.
      “Is it lawful to pay taxes to the emperor or not?” (Matthew 22.17). That’s a loaded question! Yes? Then you legalize the occupation of our country. No? Then you identify yourself publically as a rebel. It is a loaded question because of the premise, which is that this is indeed an either-or situation. Either you support a totalitarian regime that is occupying and oppressing your people OR you support resistance and rebellion.
      Jesus rejects the premise of the question. “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s” (22.21). So the question is no longer about paying taxes but about giving what is due. The question is no longer either-or but now both-and. The question is no longer about occupation but about obligation. “When they heard this, they were amazed; and they left him and went away” (22.22).

We Shall Overcome

Story of the song writer and Methodist pastor, Charles Albert Tindley, and Tindley Temple Memorial Church in Philadelphia (a wonderful place to visit).

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Scout Sunday

Thanks to our Scouts for providing leadership in worship on Sunday! Top, the group from our 8:30 service and, bottom, from 10:45. Congratulations to these young men, all the Scout leaders, and families.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Flower Power

Thanks to Beth for coordinating weekly flowers for the sanctuary. These flowers, from 1 Feb, have added beauty to our kitchen table for over a week!

Monday, February 9, 2015

Confirmands & Communion

Our confirmands have begun taking turns to serve communion in our worship services. It is a wonderful opportunity!

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Promise's Story

My name is Promise Paidamoyo Kapumha. I am a 20 year old Zimbabwean lady. In April 2012, I had the privilege to attend the Africa Leadership Summit which was organized by Young People’s Ministries of GBOD in Nairobi, Kenya. During this summit we had a lot of activities which were strategically planned to ensure that we would make the most of our time in Nairobi. We had a series of educational presentations from various presenters on topics which mostly affect us as the young leaders in Africa. I learned about the qualities of a good leader; both as a church member and also as a citizen of my nation and in my community. I also learned a lot on dating and relationships as a young leader in church; what love means and how to have meaningful and fulfilling relationships and do it in the way God expects. We had a time for group discussions during which we all shared our experiences in leadership from the different parts of Africa. We realized that we were facing common problems as young people serving the Lord and as leaders in the United Methodist Church. As a result, we shared solutions that we would each carry back to our countries and make a difference. When I returned to my country and shared these solutions with others it surely made an impact.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Holy Mess (4): Human Life

2015/02/01 Christ Church, Mountain Top
Children, Luke 10.25-37

This week, we talk about human life. There are so many hot button, tough topics in our culture that all come together under the heading of “human life”: capital punishment, abortion, euthanasia, letting die, suicide, war. And, so many of the ways we talk about these issues are mapped and shaped by our culture rather than the Bible and the theological resources of the Christian tradition.
      If you find yourself comfortable in the cultural left, with the general suspicion of war, the desire to abolish the death penalty, and a passion to protect the reproductive rights of women, you speak powerfully about the value of human life, and refer to Scripture while doing so, and perhaps not recognize the potential conflict in the practice of abortion.
      If you find yourself part of the cultural right, you may find yourself quoting Scripture on the value of human life, particularly the life of the unborn, and quoting Scripture in support of the death penalty, without paying attention to the ways one position undercuts the other.
      In the American church, most Protestants find themselves in one of these camps. On the other hand, both the official statements of The United Methodist Church and the Catholic Church are consistently pro-life, on both abortion and the death penalty, on euthanasia and suicide. Pope John Paul II published a beautifully written encyclical titled The Gospel of Life, in which he addressed the multi-faceted “life issue” and also tenderly addressed women who have had abortions, reminding them that the grace and mercy of God is for them as well: “Do not give in to discouragement and do not lose hope. … Nothing is definitively lost” (177-178).
      In The Social Principles, we recognize the “tragic conflicts of life with life” and therefore acknowledge that abortion may be appropriate in protecting the life of the mother. Whenever we talk about the value of human life, whatever specific issue we are debating, what we are talking about is how to address these “tragic conflicts”. We may discuss other matters as well – the disproportionate number of poor and minority persons given the death penalty, the impact of mental health on suicide, what it means to say “every child a wanted child”, and post-traumatic stress – but these are all terms that revolve around specific and tragic conflicts of life with life.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Children at the Altar - The Samaritan

Choir on Mission, Forming Community

By Sam Hodges
January 26, 2015 | DALLAS (UMNS)

This past Sunday morning, Jonathan Palant had his usual gig, serving as music minister for Kessler Park United Methodist Church here.
But on Sunday night he donned a tuxedo and conducted a stage full of instrumentalists and singers, ranging from a choir of homeless people to opera star Frederica von Stade, at Dallas City Performance Hall.
Much could have gone wrong, especially since they were doing the U.S. premier of a challenging new choral work on homelessness. But apart from a few members of Dallas Street Choir making a premature stage exitand having to be summoned back by Palantthe program came off fine.
Indeed, the packed house gave a prolonged standing ovation.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Just for Men

The guys meet once a month. These pics are from the December gathering, with a fabulous covered dish spread!

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Head Start

Some of the Christmas gifts prepared for children in our area through Head Start.