March 29, 2007

Stump The Preacher!

You've seen it once, now it returns.

Stump the Preacher
Shortly after Easter a box will show up in church. This is the box where you can put a question you want answered about the church or faith. On May 13 the box will be opened and Gord will attempt to answer the questions in it during the sermon time that day. Can you stump the preacher?????

March 28, 2007

Church Glossary

DOes it sometimes seem that the church uses a foreign language? WHat is Advent, or Pentecost, or a Narthex?

HERE is a glossary posted on the website of a Disciples of Christ Church in the US. SOme of the terms aren't used in every church (and some terms that may be used in other places aren't in it) but it is a handy list.

March 26, 2007

Looking Forward to April 1, 2007 -- Palm/Passion Sunday

The Scripture Readings for this week are:
  • Palm Parade: Luke 19:28-40
  • Psalm 31:9-16 (VU p.758 Parts 2 & 3)
  • From the Gospel: John 18:1-40

The Hymns will be:

  • #123 Hosanna, Loud Hosanna
  • #357 Tell Me the Stories of Jesus
  • #183 We Meet You, O Christ (tune #235)
  • #127 Ride On! Ride On in Majesty (tune #20)

The Sermon title is Mob Politics – Who’s the Fool now??

Early Thoughts: This is a day of contrasts. From crowds praising to crowds cursing. From triumph to defeat. From hope into despair. And, in the end, from life into death.

It is one of the most incomprehensible parts of the story. How did the crowd turn so quickly from praise to condemnation? Sunday they are lining the streets in honour, Thursday they turn into nothing less than a mob out for blood. Are people really so fickle?

Actually mob mentality can be quite volatile. Crowds of people can be easily swayed by a powerful speaker or charismatic individual (which really explains both Sunday and Thursday). And then there is a snowball effect as people tend to follow along with the rest.

This Sunday we explore those two crowds -- which one is the mob would depend on your point of view. And being April Fool's day we ask who the fool is in the story. IS it the crowd, so easily swayed? Is it the high priest's and temple leadership, thinking they have ended this troublesome movement? Is it Pilate, dragged along with the threat of a riot? Is it Judas, thinking that betrayal would lead to a different end? Is it Jesus, trapped into a path that leads only to a cross on a hill?

The mob can be a potent weapon, as many trouble-spots around the world and through the centuries can attest. But it can turn quickly. Join us as we look at the story of two crowds, or are they mobs?

Sunny Cove Camp

WE have the dates for camp this year. THe week is August 5-11.

Assuming the same schedule as usual, leaders will arrive the afternoon of Sunday the 5th and campers the afternoon of Monday the 6th. Then the campers will depart on Friday afternoon and the leaders will be gone Saturday morning once all the cleaning is done.

As more information becomes available it will be shared. If you are interested in being a leader please let GOrd know!

March 18, 2007

Looking Forward to March 25, 2007 -- 5th Sunday of Lent

The Scripture Readings this week are:
  • From the Jewish Scriptures: Isaiah 55:1-9
  • Psalm 63 (VU p.781)
  • From the Gospel: John 12:1-8

The Hymns are:

  • #603 In Loving Partnership
  • #87 I Am the Light of the World (verses 2-4)
  • #700 God of Freedom, God of Justice
  • #427 To Show By Touch and Word

The Sermon title is The Church in the World: Poverty and Wealth

Early Thoughts: This Gospel story is troubling. Whenever I read it I find myself agreeing with Judas -- and I really doubt that was John's intention. But really, his complaint makes sense. Why waste all that money on perfume for the feet when it could buy food for someone who is starving?

And Jesus' response is truly less than helpful. "You will always have the poor with you" I mean really, doesn't that sound like saying "You can't solve the problem so feel free to waste money on other stuff". And yet the witness of Scripture is uniform. WE have a responsibility to care for the least among us. WE have a duty to work towards the eradication of poverty. Jesus himself points out this duty several times in the Gospel accounts (poverty is by far a larger issue in Scripture than sexual ethics). What's up?

The question of wealth and poverty is a hard one. The question of what to do about resource distribution is a hard one. But since we live in the world with all its inequities we have to ask ourselves about these questions. WE have to ask why the poor are always with us. We have to discuss what to do about that unfortunate fact. Join us on Sunday as we try to explore these questions and deal with the fact that we may be cheering for Judas after all.

They're Here!

THe copies of More Voices have arrived!!

THe CD hasn'tcome yet but when it does we will arrange an afternoon or evening to gather and look at the book and listen to some of the songs off the CD.

March 15, 2007

Something to think about

ANd what does that mean about our faith?

THanks Adam

Good Friday WAlk

The Ministerial Association met yesterday to plan for the Annual Good Friday Walk.

We are doing things diferently this year. Instead of starting at the Church of the Good Shepherd and ending over at Riverview we will reverse it. The walk will start at Riverview, proceed to St. Patrick's then to the Full Gospel, then to Faith Lutheran and end at Good Shepherd. We will share lunch together in the hall there following the walk. All are welcome.

The walk will begin from the upper parking lot at 11:00 am on Good Friday, April 6.

March 14, 2007

Ham Supper Coming

This year the Annual UCW HAm Supper will be on April 1, Palm Sunday, at 5:30. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for children 6-11 and are on sale now. Contact any UCW member or the church office to get tickets.

Looking Ahead to March 18, 2007 -- 4th Sunday of Lent

The Scripture Readings for this Sunday are:
  • From the Jewish Scriptures: Joshua 24:14-24
  • Psalm 81:1-10 (VU p.796 Part One)
  • From the Gospel: Matthew 5:3-12

The Hymns are:

  • #410 This Day God Gives Me
  • # 82 A Light is Gleaming
  • #684 Make Me a Channel of Your Peace
  • #651 Guide Me, O Thou Great Jehovah

The sermon title is: The Church in the World: IN But Not OF

Early Thoughts: Christian faith is full of paradoxes and oxymorons. Chief among them is the idea that we live in the now and the not yet when it comes to describing the here and yet coming Reign of God. Another is this week's sermon title.

As people of faith we have little choice but to live in the world, unless you feel called to set up a stand-alone community and isolate yourselves. But at the same time we are challenged to have a different set of priorities from the rest of the world. In the end we need to be worldwise but not worldly. ANd in 2000 years we have never done a good job of figuring out what that means.

IT probably doesn't help that for much of Christian History in the West the nations/kingdoms/empires have been, nominally at least, "Christian". In that context it became very tempting for the church to fall into the trap of believing that the way the world ran was the same as the way the church should run, especially when the Bishops and PRinces of the church were also Secular rulers and Princes (many bishops and abbots has seats in the English House of Lords at one point, the Papal States were a separate country, the CHurch hierarchy routinely helped the absolute rulers of Europe put down the "rabble" in Peasant revolts to name just a few examples). Even as the governing systems moved toward democracy it was often hard for the church to provide an alternate view of how things could be.

ONe of the seminal works to address the paradox of in the world but not of the world was H Richard Niebuhr's Christ and Culture. Mind you, said book is not an easy read by any means. THis blog has a series of posts summarizing Niebuhr's points (the link is to the last in a series of posts, at the top of it there are links to the earlier posts). Niebuhr outlines a variety of ways that the two could interact.

In the end, there is a difference to being IN the world (not like we have much of a choice about that) and being OF the world. To be OF the world means that we accept as important what the worldsays is important. It means we accept the idea that things are as they are. But as people of faith we are called to offer a different perspective. We can, and certainly should, question the priorities of the world around us. We have the ability to suggest where things have gone off the rails both inside and outside the church. This is a part of being faithful. It was always important but now, in a changed world it is perhaps more important. Now the church has a less direct route in setting the agenda for our society (and that may well be a GOOD thing) and so we have to be more intentional in how we get our voice heard. But the blessing is that as the church moves away from the center of power it may also become easier to find the difference between living in the world and becoming too much like the world.

March 06, 2007

WonderCafe Mini-site

The Riverview minisite on WonderCafe is now done, as least temporarily (it may well need some revision).

To find it just go to WonderCafe and use the church search function (or click here). What do you think???

Looking Forward to March 11, 2007 -- 3rd Sunday of Lent

The Scripture Readings for this Sunday are:
  • Psalm 81:1-10 (VU p.796 Part One)
  • From the Gospel: Matthew 28:16-21
  • From the Gospel: Mark 16:9-18

The Hymns are:

  • #578 As A Fire is Meant for Burning (Tune 374)
  • This Little Light of Mine (insert)
  • #289 It Only Takes a Spark
  • #420 Go To the World

The Sermon title is: The Church in the World: Witness & Testimony

Early Thoughts:Part of the Christian Life is evangelism. Yeah, that's right, I just used the E word. Evangelism is one of those words that the mainline churches has not spent a lot of time on. The result has been that the Christian Right has been allowed to define what it means to be evangelistic (and now we are even more afraid to talk about evangelism for fear of being seen as the same as "them").

But really evangelism doesn't have to mean Jerry Falwell or Billy Graham on our TV screens. To be an evangelist means to be a bringer of good news. The writers of the Gospels were evangelists. Peter and Paul were evangelists, you can be an evangelist too. (somehow as I write this I have the old Dr. Pepper commercial running through my head "...wouldn't you like to be a pepper too?") If we truly believe that we have found Good News in our faith then why no share it?

"Oh but I could never do that! I couldn't stand around and talk about my faith." Well maybe not (and maybe it is easier to do that than many of us often think). But there are other ways to be evangelists. We can witness to our faith by how we act towards others. We witness to our faith when we stand up for an issue of justice. We witness to our faith when we challenge what is being said and done around us. And of course we witness to our faith when we talk about why we go to church.

Evangelism is not optional. Not only is it the way the church grows, but it is also part of how we integrate Sunday morning with the rest of the week. When we take the chance to be witnesses, to share testimony (however we do that) it allows our own faith to get deeper into our hearts and souls.

Oh and by the way...a big reason (probably bigger than the reputation of the minister) why people come to church is because a friend invited them. What do we have that we want to share with our friends and neighbours?

March 01, 2007

Living the Welcome

A large part (albeit not the most visible part) of the Emerging Spirit campaign
is focused on congregational training and support.

AS a part of this there are a series of training events being held across the country (24 per year for 3 years). One of these is being held in Thunder Bay on April 27 and 28. It would be great if we could get a group of about 3 people from Riverview to attend.

These Living the Welcome events are designed to help congregations develop themselves as a welcoming place. Their own words:

Living the Welcome will assist congregations in:

  • discerning the contour of their local context and their call to a ministry of welcoming,
  • identifying the key conditions for developing a welcoming environment,
  • discovering the key strategies, tactics, and resources for creative and faithful leadership in a welcoming congregation,
  • renewing the sense of possibility and joy for local ministries.

As a part of the event participants can choose to go to 2 (out of 5 possible) workshops. Registration is done online at the link above. Each workshop is limited to 100 participants. If you have any questions please contact Gord at the office.