Pastor’s Corner 9/9/2018

When I was in 5th grade, we had confirmation class at my church. Over twenty squirmy 5th graders met weekly with the pastors eating dinner, playing games, and learning about the Christian faith together. At the conclusion of the class we had the opportunity to join the church. My friend decided not to join the church because she didn’t believe in Jesus. Which got me thinking. What did I believe? I pondered that for a few days and decided that I did believe in Jesus, so I joined the church. Little did I know how that would impact my life! How has following Jesus impacted your life? Jesus summed up all the commandments in these two: Love God with your whole self and Love your neighbor as yourself. We love God and neighbor in our personal lives and as a faith community. See the graphic. – Worship: Connecting with God in community through weekly worship, singing, sharing communion… – Devotion: Connecting with God personally through prayer, devotion, walking, singing… – Mercy: Loving others through acts of compassion. – Justice: Loving others by confronting injustice and engaging in ministry with those on the margins. Which area of discipleship comes most easily to you? Which is a growing edge?
Let’s grow in faith together as we continue on this adventure of discipleship!
Pastor Patti


Pastor’s Corner 9/2/2018

There have been many predictions throughout history about how fast technology would develop, thus changing our work week. In 1882, the first Labor Day celebration was observed in New York City. It was to honor workers who made contributions to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country. As time went on, economists predicted technological advancements would soon lead to a 15-hour work week by the 1930s. Then, by the 1960s, congressional leaders predicted a two-day work week by the year 2000. Yet, here we are almost 20 years past the prediction, and we see people overworked and underpaid, unemployment, and battles for safe and fair work environments. Working more hours simply hasn’t translated to greater production or higher levels of satisfaction. And, unlike how the predictions of our past had hoped, less work and more rest just aren’t realities for today’s laborers. In my personal experience, we ignore our mental, emotional, and spiritual need for rest. The phrase “let your soul catch up” has spoken to me lately. We can often work so dutifully and fast that our poor soul can’t catch up. And then, we are surprised when we are exhausted, irritable, and have developed unhealthy habits. This weekend, I invite you to meditate on the idea of letting your soul catch up. What does that mean to you and your family? What does “catching up” look like? I also invite you to remember why we have Labor Day: to acknowledge the social and economic successes of American workers. And, a part of that is acknowledging that not everyone gets Labor Day as a day off, and the fight for fair monetary compensation is still being fought. Let your soul catch up and be re-energized for labor. Your labor, in whatever form it exists, is important.   Happy Labor Day,   Pastor Sami



Pastor’s Corner 8/26/2018

 

Going to School Hungry

More than 13 million kids in this country go to school hungry. One in five children in the United States live in food insecure households. According to the No Kid Hungry campaign, “food insecurity is a family that has enough money to buy groceries three out of four weeks; it’s a mom skipping dinner; it’s having to choose between buying groceries and paying rent.”

What experts are now, finally, realizing, that hunger has an enormous impact on a student’s ability to learn, pay attention, and socialize. Hungry kids are more likely to miss school because of illness, and more likely to suffer from depression and anxiety, and develop behavioral problems. There is a lot of potential being squandered because kids are going to school hungry.

A creative idea that has blossomed in our country is the idea of sending food home with kids for the weekend and evenings. In New Hampshire, it was discovered when Clair Bloom, a resident, went to her local school to “throw some money” at the hunger problem, and the school told her they didn’t need money. They needed a program to pack food and send home with kids on Fridays. Bloom took on the project, arranging volunteers, crunching numbers for affordable meals for hundreds.

This problem, as you can see from the statistics, is here in our community as well. We all probably  know a child who goes without the basic necessities on a regular basis. Helena Food Share actively tackles food insecurity from many angles, one of which is through Kid Packs. It is entering its 10th year and costs around $125,000 annually to run. However, Helena Food Share sends 1,100 children home with meals each week. Plus, there is story after story of children attending school more often, sick less often, in trouble less, and improved grades…all because of having enough to eat through programs like Kid Packs.

Are you able to help? Are you able to build a little person through this?

 

The Kid Pack Food Drive is on September 8 from 10am to 4pm at Van’s Thriftway (306 Euclid Ave.)



Pastor’s Corner 8/19/2018

Rev. Lydia Sohn, a pastor at St. Mark’s UMC in San Diego, CA interviewed the ninety-year-old people in her congregation. She wrote about it in her blog titled “What It’s like to Be 90-Something: Aging Well, Living Happier.” It is an interesting article about what she expected and was surprised by in these conversations. The paragraph that stood out to me is this:

This radical relational orientation of all my subjects caught me by surprise. As someone who is entering the height of my career, I expend much more energy on my work than my relationships. And when I imagine my future, I envision what I will have accomplished rather than what my relationships will be like. These 90-something-year-olds emphasize the opposite when they look back on their lives. Their joys and regrets have nothing to do with their careers, but with their parents, children, spouses and friends. Put simply, when I asked one person, “Do you wish you accomplished more?” He responded, “No, I wished I loved more.” (www.revlydia.com/blog/2018/7/12/what-its-like-to-be-90-something, accessed August 14, 2018)

That is a significant statement, “I don’t wish I accomplished more, I wish I loved more.” No matter what season you are in, these are instructional words. As I sit at the bedside of people close to death, the conversations typically center on the people and shared experiences in their lives. They take comfort in the impact they have had in this world. And that impact is measured by relationships, not accomplishments.

Jesus taught that the 2 most important commandments, i.e. the heart of living as a faithful disciple of Jesus, is to love God with our whole selves, and to love others as we love ourselves. It’s all about relationships. Relationships with God, with others, and with our selves.

What will your relationships look like when you are 90 years old? What does that say to you about how you are living your live today?

 

Walking on the path of grace,

Pastor Patti