Our text in worship this Sunday is Jesus commissioning the disciples - asking them to make disciples of all nations and authorizing their work by describing how they have inherited the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. In a reflection entitled "You Have What It Takes!" we will consider the mechanics of ministry for us all and look at what it takes to do the work of God from day to day in our lives. The model in business - and sometimes in parenting - is to delegate responsibility all along the way so that as we age and grow in our experience, we are doing less and less of the "grunt" work and more of the decision-making and visioning. Is ministry always simply "grunt" work - service to others, compassionate and Godly, but service nonetheless? Come join us for worship at 10AM in the Chapel as we reflect on ministry and our gifts this Sunday.
- Rev. John H. Pomeroy
"Signs and Wonders"
This Sunday we will observe Pentecost - the season of the church year where we recall and remember the giving of the Holy Spirit to the early church community. The unleashing of the Spirit of God on the people was a disconcerting and strange event. With wind, fire and strange speech, the power of God was given to the early followers of Jesus. They were transitioning from a community with Jesus physically present to a community where Jesus was spiritually leading them. It was a time of great wonder, fear and maybe even a little bit of excitement! We too are blessed with the Spirit of God in our midst - sometimes in quite dramatic ways; other times in a less showy manner. But we know when God's Spirit is guiding us - we feel enveloped and borne up by the mysterious power of the Divine. There is nothing more energizing than that! Come and join us for worship on Sunday as we explore these themes. It is also Choir Appreciation Sunday when we say a big "THANK YOU!" to our choir who has lovingly showered us with music all year. We will also thank our new Musical Director Connie Washburn who has finished her first season with us and our newly re-formed Bell Choir under the direction of Paulette Westphal. See you Sunday for all the fun! Wear red/orange/yellow if you wish.
-Marlene W. Pomeroy
The daily onslaught of news can be mind numbing and soul rattling: everything from the daily news coming out of the White House and the media who covers it to a proposed national budget to the bombing in Manchester and a host of other situations abroad. A natural question arises: how long might things worsen - and will things get better? This Sunday we will spend time with two texts for "Ascension Sunday," the week when we read about the departure of the resurrected Jesus and what's left behind . . . for the transformation of th world.
-Rev. Andy Schwiebert
1 Peter 3:13-22
This week in worship we have the good fortune of celebrating the work of Irene Phillips, the Director of our church nursery for nearly five decades. In 1 Peter the writers are encouraging followers of Jesus to hang onto their ideas and principles - to hold fast to their faith, aware that communities, friends and family members may scoff at their beliefs and practices. Ms. Phillips has been such a wonderful example to all of us in the church of holding fast to loving and caring for children and youth in our church nursery - no matter what their faults, no matter where they are in their development, no matter how they are growing and changing! Her offer of compassion and care has been there each week, each special event, for each child, no matter what the storm, what the change, what the name or personality! In a brief reflection this week entitled Integrity and Compassion Are Ministry we will compare our own commitment to our faith with the invitation in this text - and ask how we are doing in maintaining our faith amidst the push and pull of our work, culture and family. Come join us in worship in the Chapel at 10AM!
- Rev. John H Pomeroy
It's so easy to succumb to societal notions of individuality-- that we and our own homes and families are islands and that we ought to pull ourselves up by our bootstraps if we are to be worth anything. We ought to be self-reliant and neither take from others nor be expected to give to others. But this Sunday as we read about the first Christian community from Acts 2 we will be reminded what it means to be the church, sharing our life together.
-Rev. Andy Schwiebert
Our text in worship this week is the story of followers of Jesus who meet him as a stranger on the road to Emmaus, and realize his identity only after breaking bread and hearing the Gospel story from Jesus' mouth. What are the writers after here? They are lifting up the importance of the sacrament of the Lord's Supper - remembering - literally telling the story and "piecing together" Jesus' body in a key ritual of the church; the writers are also lifting up a key model of ministry - walking with another person and hearing their concerns, sharing with them our experience of the story of Jesus - birth, life, death and finally - resurrection! We will have the privilege this Sunday to join other churches in a celebration and exploration of sacred resistance and sanctuary by hearing from a guest about their concerns and their hopes for our current immigration policies. We will also consider - in a brief reflection entitled "Whom Do You Walk With?"- how our lives are changed and our faith nurtured by whom we choose to walk with on our journey of faith - and whom we open our lives to in our day-to-day experiences. Come join us for worship this Sunday in the Chapel at 10AM!
-Rev. John H. Pomeroy
The story of the first Easter continues in John's Gospel. The disciples are fearful and huddled together in a private house. Jesus appears to them and offers them words of peace and comfort. He also showers them with the presence of the Holy Spirit. Thomas is famously absent from this appearance and desires his own encounter with the Risen Christ. A week later Jesus appears to them again and gives Thomas his wish. We would do well to remember that the empty tomb and the Risen Christ wasn't an immediately joyful and heartening time for the early disciples. Rather, it was a time of great confusion and fearfulness. The path of faith was not at all clear to those early followers, just as it is not always clear for us today. As we read these ancient stories we are invited to connect with times of fear and confusion in our own lives of faith and to ask as Thomas did for an encounter with the Living Christ! Hope to see you Sunday. We will be worshiping back in our chapel this week.
- Rev. Marlene W. Pomeroy
On Sunday April 16th we will gather at 10:00 a.m. for our Easter service of joyful celebration! Each Gospel has a different version of the Easter story and we will be hearing Matthew's account this year, which includes an earthquake, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary, and angel and guards who tremble at the power of God to resurrect! Easter is fantastic and fantastical and we will explore again how we are called to celebrate and live as God's Easter People!! Musically, our Music Director Connie Washburn has planned glorious music that will include the organ, a flute, piano and our choir! Come and raise your voice with others as we sing Alleluia, Christ has Risen! Rev. Marlene Pomeroy will be bringing us the message and Rev. Andrew Schwiebert will be officiating at Communion. All are welcome! Hope to celebrate Easter with you on Sunday.
-Rev. Marlene W. Pomeroy
Matthew 21: 1-11
This Sunday, as part of the Palm/Passion narrative nearing the end of Lent, we remember the entrance of Jesus into the holy city of Jerusalem, seated on a donkey.
Your pastors have been spending time preaching with the book, Our God is Undocumented: Biblical Faith & Immigrant Justice during Lent. This week we will focus on the story of Rev. John Fife (highlighted in chapter 8 of the book), a pastor at a church in Tucson that led the Sanctuary movement of the 1980s, which took "civil initiative" (as opposed to civil disobedience) by doing what the government would not do; offer humanitarian aid and shelter to refugees fleeing violence.. We will also explore some other more current efforts challenging the powers that be... happening in our area.
Maundy Thursday in the Street: 4/13 at 10AM
Our FCC community will commemorate Maundy Thursday on Thursday April 13th with our 6PM meal and 7PM worship in the FCC chancel (i.e. choir loft in the sanctuary) action.
But earlier in the day, a handful of us also plan to take part in an interfaith prophetic action to stand with our immigrant and refugee brothers and sisters in a political climate of xenophobia, fear and hatred. The public liturgy will include a foot-washing for a group of immigrant brothers and sisters and will end with a smaller group of people (who have been trained) who plan to risk arrest in an orderly, non-violent civil disobedience. I will be attending the prophetic action but don't plan to risk arrest; I plan to support those being arrested by holding personal items and greeting them as they are released from jail, which might last into the night or even continue into the following day.
-Rev. Andy Schwiebert
Our text this week is the story of the raising of Lazarus. Jesus has been summoned to come and heal Lazarus who is the brother of his dear friends Martha and Mary. Jesus stays two days longer before going to their house and by this time Lazarus has died. By the time Jesus arrives Lazarus has been dead and in the tomb four days (the Jewish notion at the time was that it took three days for the soul to leave the body). The point for us as readers is to know that Lazarus is truly dead. And yet we hear Jesus summoning him back to life after being deeply moved by the grief of Mary and Martha. It's a fantastical story, meant to remind us that Jesus, empowered by God, brings life back into situations that are dead and broken and lost. We are urged to not give up when we see nothing but death and hopelessness and instead to turn to God with our requests and our wishes. As people of faith we are asked to believe that God continues to bring new life and hope into situations that feel far beyond our ability to repair. I will contrast this story with the story from the book Our God is Undocumented, of Amalia Molina in chapter 6 whose story is about struggle and pain and loss; yet throughout her struggles, her faith in God sustains her and propels her forward. She experiences renewal and rebirth along with her profound loss. I invited you to read the story of Lazarus in the 11th chapter of John's Gospel and reflect on times in your own lives when things feel hopeless. What drew you along? Who ministered to you during these dark times? Join us for worship in our chapel on Sunday as we explore these themes. We will hear beautiful music to accompany this story - "Pie Jesu" with Mattias Orr and Kim Mendez-McLeish singing, and a "Kyrie"with Kim and Elizabeth Lanski singing solos. See you Sunday!
- Rev. Marlene W. Pomeroy