Let’s Get Together! Time for Cottage Meetings

Written by Rev. Gayle Pope. Posted in The Seed

It’s been awhile. Last time we got together for cottage meetings was September 2015. Those discussions became the fodder for our current strategic plan. That plan has been “tweaked” over the last four years, but it’s time to put some deep thought and conversation into discerning where and how God is leading us in mission as we move forward.

Why now? Well, partly just because it’s been awhile and it’s important to stay alert to the Spirit’s direction and to listen to one another and not get complacent.

For he is our God, and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand.
Psalm 95:7

The hand of the Lord was with them, and a great number became believers and turned to the Lord.
Acts 11:21

But there’s also this looming transition … three more months and the pastoral leadership here will change. Taking time to listen to each other and to the Holy Spirit will help identify priorities and set forth a vision for the future.

Cottage meetings are set – please sign up!

Thanks to Matt Futhey, our congregation vice president, we have ten cottage meetings scheduled. We will have sign-up sheets in the narthex starting April 28. If you won’t be at church, call or email the church office and we will put your name down on one of the lists.  Meetings are as follows:

  • Sunday, May 5, 2 p.m. – Matt Futhey
  • Tuesday, May 7, 10 a.m. – Brian & Bonnie Cox
  • Thursday, May 9, 7 p.m. – Tafi & Sam Lathrop
  • Friday, May 10, 2 p.m. – Judy Heilmann
  • Saturday, May 11, 7 p.m. - Conny & Keith Gerhardt
  • Wednesday, May 15, 10 a.m. – Corrine & Joe Sutcliffe
  • Wednesday, May 15, 7 p.m. – Kathy & Charlie Buckman
  • Thursday, May 16, 7 p.m. – Pat & Stu Bell
  • Friday, May 17, 2 p.m. – Joan Kammerlohr
  • Sunday, May 19, 10:45 a.m. – At Church

What happens at a cottage meeting?

President Dick Tabb and I have put together a guide for the meetings, beginning with prayer, then a quick ice breaker question, a time of Bible reflection on how the Hand of God guides and empowers us, and finally, conversation around five questions about our mission and ministry stemming from the results of our CAT survey.

Each session will have a facilitator and a volunteer note taker. Lest that sound too formal, rest assured there is always time for chit chat, laughter and sharing about whatever happens to surface. Plan on at least 90 minutes. We will compile notes from all the sessions.

What comes next?

Council members, Ministry Team and Committee leaders and any other interested members will gather on Saturday morning, June 1, from 9 to noon to review our current strategic plan goals and objectives and update them in light of the input received. Brainstorming and flip charts taped to the wall may well be involved. After that, Ministry Teams and Committees will have time to fine tune areas that involve them and, hopefully, we will have an updated plan by the end of July to guide us into the future.

“Open My Life, Lord” Continues through Lent to Easter

Written by Rev. Gayle Pope. Posted in The Seed

open my lifeWe continue to invite God to open our eyes, hands, ears, hearts and lives to his love and power this Lent. Here’s what’s coming up:

  • Midweek Services – Wednesdays at 6:30 p.m.
    (preceded by supper at 5:30)
    • April 3: Open My Heart, Lord – Martha Rapp, spiritual director, chaplain and religious educator from St. Peter’s Catholic Church in Quincy, will reflect on Acts 16:11-15, the story of Lydia, who opened her heart to God and was baptized.
    • April 10: “Open my Life, Lord” – I will conclude the Wednesday series with a message about the transforming power of the Spirit in a life cracked open to the love of God. As Paul writes in Galatians 2:15-21, “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”
  • Palm Sunday, April 14, 9:30 a.m.: Our service begins in the Fellowship Hall as we process with palms into the Sanctuary. The service turns from joyful Hosannas to the somber recognition of what is to come as we hear the Passion according to Luke.
  • Maundy Thursday, April 18, 7 p.m.: A traditional service including individual absolution with the laying on of hands, a foot washing ritual, congregation communing one another, stripping of the altar as Psalm 22 is chanted, and departing in silence.
  • Maundy Thursday to Good Friday Prayer Vigil in the Resurrection Chapel: For the second year, we are inviting people to sign up for 30-minute slots in a 23-hour prayer vigil from the close of Maundy Thursday worship to the opening of Good Friday worship, Various guided prayer materials will be provided for those who wish to use them. This is a time to contemplate your own relationship with Christ, to open your heart to the meaning of his suffering and death, and to pray for self, others and the world. Sign-up sheets will be posted in the narthex. You are welcome to take more than one slot if you wish to stay longer. Someone will always be present in the church building so no one will be there alone.
  • Good Friday, April 19, 7 p.m.: This year we will again experience the “Service of the Nails” – a series of readings, extinguishing of candles, responses, silent reflection and prayer to help us enter more deeply into the meaning of Good Friday. Everyone is asked to bring your Lenten key. Toward the end of the service, all are invited to come forward and receive a nail tied with a red ribbon, drive your nail into a rugged wooden cross, and hang your key on it. The ribbon symbolizes our sin (though your sins are like scarlet...”) and Christ’s blood. The key symbolizes our willingness to unlock our hearts and let Christ in. You can retrieve your key if you want to keep it, or leave it to become part of something made out of all the keys.
  • Easter Sunday, April 21, 9:30 a.m.: We will unpack the Alleluia and participate in a joyful celebration of our Lord’s Resurrection, followed by Easter Brunch to benefit our Memorial Garden project.