Sunday, July 29, 2018

Wedding Dance!


Congrats to Callie and Scott, and their families, on their wedding day, July 7.

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Chancel Railings

Thanks for the special Memorial Gift to make these railings possible!

Thursday, July 26, 2018

All Downhill from Here (2018-0708)



2 Samuel 5:1-10
Psalm 48
(2 Corinthians 12:2-10)

Christ United Methodist Church
July 8, 2018
Seventh Sunday after Pentecost

Then all the tribes of Israel came to David at Hebron, and said, “Look, we are your bone and flesh. For some time, while Saul was king over us, it was you who led out Israel and brought it in. The Lord said to you: It is you who shall be shepherd of my people Israel, you who shall be ruler over Israel.” So all the elders of Israel came to the king at Hebron; and King David made a covenant with them at Hebron before the Lord, and they anointed David king over Israel. David was thirty years old when he began to reign, and he reigned forty years. At Hebron he reigned over Judah seven years and six months; and at Jerusalem he reigned over all Israel and Judah thirty-three years.

The king and his men marched to Jerusalem against the Jebusites, the inhabitants of the land, who said to David, “You will not come in here, even the blind and the lame will turn you back”—thinking, “David cannot come in here.” Nevertheless David took the stronghold of Zion, which is now the city of David. David had said on that day, “Whoever would strike down the Jebusites, let him get up the water shaft to attack the lame and the blind, those whom David hates.” Therefore it is said, “The blind and the lame shall not come into the house.” David occupied the stronghold, and named it the city of David. David built the city all around from the Millo inward. And David became greater and greater, for the Lord, the God of hosts, was with him.

In the 73 days since its release, the Marvel Studios movie “Avengers: Infinity War” has made more than two billion dollars in box office revenue. Notwithstanding those especially gaudy figures, “Infinity War” is but the latest of dozens of recent, wildly popular movies in the “superhero” genre. Even someone as out of touch with popular culture as I am knows that we inhabit a cultural moment in which superheroes are all the rage. Peculiarly dressed, extremely handsome and well-muscled men and (increasingly) women, possessed of exceptional strength, speed, acumen, and various other abilities, fight the forces of evil – and occasionally each other – on the screens of theaters and televisions across the country, while we collectively fork over billions of dollars to watch. Serious journalists pen thousands of words about them, and scholars write articles in academic journals about their characters and argue at national and even international conferences about what our affinity for them might mean.

4th of July Program at the Park




A privilege to offer prayer for this year's annual observance.

Monday, July 23, 2018

Parade on the 4th (1 of 2)



Thanks to all who showed up to offer hospitality, including cold water to those marching and baked goods for the spectators!

Food and Fellowship


Each Sunday, 9:30-10:45, through August. Indoors if the weather is inclement. Thanks to everyone who has signed up to host. One more date available!

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Holy Water (July 1 message)



Holy Water                                                                 \2Sa 23 08-39
30 June – 1 July 2018, Christ Mountain Top, Glen Summit Chapel
      The Lord’s Table & National Holiday
Praying the Psalm, Psalm 42
Children, Mark 14.17-26
Message, 2 Samuel 23.8-39
Solo, “Land of My Sojourn” (Rich Mullins)

Intro
Campfire stories with dad and the boys
      Scar & the shark
      Living legend
These men, legends in their own time, all of them loyal to David

Effective formation (fruitful formation)
Examples
      Baseball, Tyler
      Eleazar son of Dodo, son of Ahohi - hand “froze” “clung” to sword
What forms us?
      Video games? Gardening?
      A knowing that is doing, spiritual practice
      Christ Church values:
·       Worship, Community, Mission
·       Giving, faithful, real
·       Reconciliation
      3 General Rules (fall series?)
Formed by what we commit to and repeat, with courage

Friday, July 20, 2018

Nutrition support in Malawi

Agness David, 4, is measured for weight and height in Malawi where many children suffer from malnutrition. She is receiving nutritional support through the help of the Malawi United Methodist Church. Photo by Francis Nkhoma, UMNS.
By Francis NkhomaJune 26, 2018 | LILONGWE, Malawi (UMNS)

Agness David, 4, is measured for weight and height in Malawi where many children suffer from malnutrition. She is receiving nutritional support through the help of the Malawi United Methodist Church. Photo by Francis Nkhoma, UMNS.
Malnutrition, especially among children ages 5 and younger, is an ongoing crisis in Malawi, but The United Methodist Church is helping to make a difference for both children and adults.
Agness David, 4, is an example. She was born HIV-positive. Her mother died in childbirth, and her father is not involved in her life. Agness’ aunt, who already had a large family, stepped in to care for the little girl. But because of poverty, Agness nearly died of chronic malnutrition.
Two years ago, the Malawi United Methodist Church started a nutrition program for children and adults. Thanks to that ministry, Agness is thriving today.
According to United Methodist nutrition program officer Maurice Solola, the nutrition clinic supplies food supplements such as peanut butter and soy flour. The clinic also conducts cooking demonstrations and offers nutrition presentations. Participants cite positive changes in their lives.
Selina Elijah, 40, from Manase Village, is a client. “I was bedridden for months and did not have an appetite,” she recalled. “I was about to die due to the lack of nutrition support. I’m much better now. The supplements have really helped me.”

Setting the Table

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Africa University students developing clean energy

Yollanda Washaya, innovation hub manager for Africa University, works to implement new ideas such as building a biogas digester to recycle waste, operating a 3D printer to create prototypes, and branding. Photo by Eveline Chikwanah, UMNS.
Yollanda Washaya, innovation hub manager for Africa University, works to implement new ideas such as building a biogas digester to recycle waste, operating a 3D printer to create prototypes, and branding. Photo by Eveline Chikwanah, UMNS.
Five Africa University students have completed research on building a biogas digester to produce renewable clean energy for household use in rural communities.
Monalisa Tanatsiwa Chatsama, who is studying Health Services Management, is one of the students working on the biogas digester.
“Working on this project has made me feel like I am so much capable of greatness, and at the same time realizing that I have not been using my potential to the fullest,” Chatsama said.
“I am looking forward to presenting this project on more platforms and raising funds for us to construct our first biodigesters,” she said.
Yollanda Washaya, innovation hub manager for the United Methodist university, said the digester will be good for the environment since users would recycle waste such as cow dung, human or other waste, which would then be fermented to produce heat for cooking and lighting.
The students, from Zambia, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Zimbabwe, are expected to start building the digester when they return to the institution next semester in August.

Sunset

Taken during Vacation Bible School week by Carrie. Thanks!

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Lumberjacks


Not pictured ... Erik and Nathan. Thanks guys for splitting all that great firewood, from one of our trees, fallen in a winter storm!

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Blind (2018-0624)



23-24 June 2018, Christ Mountain Top, VBS Sunday
Praying the Psalm, Psalm 36.5-10
Children, Mark 10.46-52
Message, 1 Samuel 16.1-13

      What we don’t see …
Perception, so often shaped by things other than our senses
·       How often we can’t find things that are right in front of us?
·       How often do we assume we’re a good judge of character only to be totally wrong?

Wordplay around “see/sight/vision/look” in the Samuel story:
      Described as a “seer” (prophet) but NEVER has a vision
      Mentor was Eli, a priest whose eyesight was dimming
      Era in which “visions were not widespread”
      Calling not with a vision but an “audition” – hearing his name

No wonder, in this special assignment, that Samuel can’t “see straight”: 1 Samuel 16:7  the LORD does not see as mortals see; they look on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart.

Fail to see the future because we are focused on the past
      how long will you mope for Saul? 
      Eliab – described in the same terms as Saul was
            but God isn’t looking for the same kind of man
      So often, in our regrets, we repeat the same mistake

God’s regrets!
1 Samuel 15:35  the LORD was sorry that he had made Saul king over Israel.
Despite God’s regret, God is not stuck in the past. God chooses to act to create a new future.
You can’t move forward if you spend all your time looking in the rearview mirror. It is always easier to see into the past than into the future; that is why it is often more comfortable to remain in the past, with all its problems, than to join God in forming the future.  God's sight is different than ours.

Fail to see the person because we are focused on the appearance
Samuel re David’s brothers and the kingly look of Saul’s height
God’s rebuke: the LORD does not see as mortals see; they look on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart.

Judging by external features is inadequate and untrustworthy
      “Color of our skin” versus “content of our character” (MLK Jr.)
      Various cultural stigmas – mental illness, HIV positive status, immigrant status, sexuality – can we welcome people as people, rather than as labels?
      First impressions are powerful, and not always accurate
  
Learning to see by learning to hear
Hebrew: hear/obey
Kids to parents, “I hear you”
Shema
Psalm 119:105  Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. (sound-sight)
Samuel told Saul, "Because you have rejected the word of the LORD, God has rejected you as king" (15.23).

Samuel had learned to listen to God. Saul had not. David did. One of the key aspects of this is the internal correction, the clarity of who we are and where we fail. We’ve all got blind spots, some of them pretty huge. Remaining ignorant of them sets us up for serious failures.

Pascal: “Truly it is evil to be full of faults, but a still greater evil to be full of them and unwilling to recognize them.”

Thomas Merton, New Seeds of Contemplation
We are at liberty to be real, or to be unreal. We may be true or
false, the choice is ours. We may wear now one mask and now
another, and never, if we so desire, appear with our own true
face. But we cannot make these choices with impunity. Causes
have effects, and if we lie to ourselves and to others, then we
cannot expect to find truth and reality whenever we happen to
want them.

Resources:
Thomas Merton cited in Jason Locy and Tim Willard, “Veneer: A Commentary on Culture and the Church” published by QShorts, 2009.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Struggles in Bulgaria through two World Wars and Communism

This story is of personal importance to me. My grandmother spent her childhood in Sofia, Bulgaria, where her father was a church planter and district superintendent for Methodist Church between the World Wars. She went to school in Constantinople and eventually ended up meeting my grandfather (son of an Estonian immigrant) in New York City. One of her last projects, unfortunately unfinished, was to tell the story of missionaries who had been arrested in Bulgaria.

By Ginny Whitehouse

May 2018 | SHUMEN, Bulgaria (UMNS)

The Rev. Bodjidar Popov opened an envelope and pulled out a black and white, ruffled-edge photo of his father, Simeon Popov, preaching from a pulpit in Shumen, a pulpit the father and son would later share.

The Rev. Simeon Popov survived both world wars, Soviet takeover of his country and nearly six years in prison work camps. He lived long enough to convene Bulgaria’s first meeting of “survived Methodists” in 1990 after the fall of communism. Only three Bulgarian congregations remained in their own church buildings through the Cold War.

Now 85, Bodjidar Popov is just younger than his father was when he died. He lives in the small apartment he once shared with his wife, Spaska, surrounded by the chocolates his daughters send him from Switzerland and the new editions of his father’s books.

Popov leaned back in his chair and spoke through his translator, the Rev. Jessica Morris-Ivanova, who now co-pastors the Shumen United Methodist Church with her husband.

“I want to start with the year 1937,” Popov said. He also shared a booklet about his father’s story that was written by the Rev. Bedros Altonian, who grew up in Shumen.

That was the year his family moved to Voyvodovo for his father to serve a church just south of the Danube and the Romanian border. Three-quarters of the town were Czech Protestants who had fled persecution. Bulgarians had invited the sturdy, hard-working farmers to repopulate the borderlands and the town boomed to 800. Bodjidar — whose name means “God’s gift” — was 5 years old and the youngest of three children.

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Recital

The Michele Millington studio gathers for their pre-recital pic (June 8).