Brothers and sisters! A revival is coming to our church! If you’ve been looking for a spark to ignite your life or if you’ve been looking for an opportunity to share your fire with someone else, this is your chance! A few months ago my own flame of excitement was lit when I received a phone call from the Rev. Linda Jaramillo, the Executive Minister of Justice and Witness Ministries for our denomination. When Linda called, she wanted to know if our church would host the first UCC social justice revival ever. UCC churches from throughout the Pacific Northwest would be invited to attend this revival at our church on Saturday, November 8th. To host this denominational event is a tremendous honor, and while a lot of factors led to our being asked to serve as hosts, one of the factors is our own church’s reputation for social justice advocacy.
An interactive photo project conducted by the church was recently covered by the Columbian newspaper. At last Saturday’s Peace and Justice Fair in Esther Short Park, more than 50 people had their picture taken by the Rev. Brooks Berndt as part of the project. On large pieces of paper, the church provided peace and justice quotes from famous persons. Participants could hold their favorite quote as they had a picture taken of them. Quotes came from Nelson Mandela, Maya Angelou, Mother Teresa, Martin Luther King, Jr., Archbishop Oscar Romero, Alice Walker, James Baldwin, Frederick Douglass, and Alice Walker. There were also quotes from scripture such as Amos 5:24: “Let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.” Likewise, the church provided a quote of Jesus declaring that he had come “to bring good news to the poor.”
Rev. Berndt shared that he is particularly fond of the James Baldwin quote that says, “If the concept of God has any validity or any use, it can only be to make us larger, freer, and more loving.” The Rev. Berndt explained that he thought of the idea for the photo project when brainstorming an interactive art activity for the fair. He said, “I like interactive art that expresses our values and provokes our thinking.”
Recently, I finished the novel Still Life by the bestselling mystery writer Louise Penny. The book is the first in her Inspector Gamache series. The metaphor that lies at the heart of the novel comes from a remembrance that the inspector has. He recalls someone explaining to him how each of our lives is like a long house. We enter at one end of the house as babies and move through it until we exit the other end at our death. All the people we have ever encountered are in that house. Gamache’s recollection of the long house metaphor continues:
Our church is excited to announce a new Spanish language children’s choir that will begin practice on September 21st. The choir will be led by church member Kit Stowell. Kit has the perfect background and ability for this choir. In terms of Spanish, Kit has taught Spanish and Latin American Studies as a college professor. Moreover, he lives part of each year in Ecuador. In terms of music, Kit is an accomplished harp player with special knowledge of Latin American harp traditions. Kit has also given public performances with his guitar. Finally, Kit works well with young children! He currently teaches music to children at a Spanish immersion school in Camas. The choir will practice before Sunday worship from 9:30 to 9:50 on Sundays starting September 21st. Practices will go until a Christmas performance in worship on December 21st. If you have a child that you would like to have join the choir, let us know by calling (360)693-1476. (more…)