God’s Big Backyard – Vacation Bible School

Many thanks to Beth Petzke, Cindy Bartol, and countless others who made this a wonderful week for so many children – much fun and learning about service in Jesus’ name.
Here are just a few of the many photos that were taken. We are grateful to Toni Hanson who took most of them:

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Maundy Thursday 2008

We gathered at First Presbyterian for a delicious lamb dinner cooked by Marilyn Montemayor and friends. We went through a Seder ritual, then had worship in the sanctuary with combined choirs. How do folks who don’t worship in Holy Week prepare themselves adequately for the good news of Easter!?
Here are some pictures of the dinner:

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Trinity UCC in Chicago – amidst controversy

From Pastor Jim Hollister –

Today we are hearing about Trinity UCC in the news because of one presidential candidate’s membership in that church, the largest congregation in our denomination. I have worshiped at TUCC (www.tucc.org) at least 4 or 5 times and will drive a bus-load of members to worship there on March 30th. I hope we’ll hear their new pastor, Otis Moss III, who is a gifted 37-yr. old preacher.

But I also have been very impressed and inspired by their outgoing preacher/pastor, the Rev. Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr. My experience is that yes, he is a trouble-maker, but a trouble-maker in the spirit of the prophets of old and others who have been persecuted. I’m sure that he has overstated things in his preaching, as many of us clergy have at times. But I have also heard some wonderful sermons from him from his pulpit and at conferences around the country.

Our UCC President John Thomas has written something about this current controversy that I commend to you. http://www.ucc.org/news/responding-to-wright.html

And I hope you will watch the video clip at the end of that article. It’s of John Thomas speaking at Trinity UCC on 3/2/08 on the occasion of the retirement of the Rev. Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright, Jr., pastor there since the early 1970s.

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VIDEO-Group Workcamps

Our Middle School youth will be attending a GROUP Workcamp in Mattoon, Illinois. Here is a promo video from YouTube:

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VIDEO-National Youth Event

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The Big Thaw

Things are thawing out today – sunny and 25 degrees F!
But this little tree in the courtyard still wants to hold as big a snow ball as it can!
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Francis on Valentine’s Day

St. Francis is a very patient person, but even he is getting tired of the snow. Here he is on Valentine’s Day, carrying the snow on his shoulders as if it is his favorite snow leopard.

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Ash Wednesday Blizzard

The snow fell on Ash Wednesday – at least 16 inches. Here are some pics of our center courtyard: the snow blows in off of the roof, then gets trapped there. We’ll soon be tunneling like hamsters in a Habitrail!

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Ash Wednesday – activity update

Winter Storm Warning today…

A hardy group of ‘pilgrims’ did indeed meet for Wed. Morning Study Group today at 6:45 a.m.

A noontime Ash Wednesday service will be held today in Evans Chapel. All are welcome.

No classes this evening, however.

The “make-up” first session of the “Living the Questions” study will be offered this Sunday, Feb. 10th at 9:00 am in the Conference Room. Pastor Jim, leader.

The confirmation mentor/student dinner and discussion scheduled for this evening will held this Sunday, Feb. 10th following worship. All mentors and students are encouraged to attend this lasagna lunch and discussion of the “saint” visits. Please let Pastor Julia know if you can’t attend.

May you feel God’s presence and peace on this the first day of Lent!

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Membership Vows – 4 questions

(taken several years ago on Easter morning)

Last Sunday, we received new members into our fellowship – always a thrill. There are four “vows” that new members affirm when they join. These were adopted in the late 1990s, and were inspired, to a large extent, by our participation in “Unwrapping Our Gifts” designed by Rev. Ron Farr in the NY Conference of the UCC. They are as follows:

Do you reaffirm your faith in God as your Maker, in Christ as your Lord, and in the Holy Spirit as your Strength, and commit yourself to deepening your relationship with God? (I do.)

Do you promise, by the grace of God, to be Christ’s disciple, to be one of his ministers in your own way in your workplace, home, and world, and to use your God-given gifts, whatever they may be, to bring a little more of the good news of God’s kingdom to others? (I do.)

Do you promise to love and care for the members of this church family, to stand by them and pray for them in their time of need, and to support their various gifts and ministries, as best you are able, as they also seek to support you? (I do.)

Do you promise to participate in the life and mission of this family of God’s people, sharing regularly in the worship of God, and enlisting in the work of this congregation as it serves the community and the world? (I do)

Then the members present respond with these words of welcome and support:

We welcome you with joy in the common life of this church. We promise you our friendship and prayers as we share the hopes and labors of the church of Jesus Christ. By the power of the Holy Spirit may we continue to grow together in God’s knowledge and love and be witnesses of our risen Savior.

If you are looking for a church home, we invite you to join us. “Whoever you are, wherever you are on life’s journey, you are welcome here.” To God be the glory!

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