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Sunday, July 30, 2006

Sunday Prayer

*Don't forget to nominate yourself or someone else for the RevGal Wednesday Festival. This week's theme is Ministry, Music, Sermons and Other Writing! Send in or nominate stories about anything you please.

God of Wonder and Miracle, we give thanks and bring praises for this beautiful creation and the bounty of this time of year - for fruit trees preparing their annual gift of sweetness, for gardens bringing beauty and sustenance. We thank you for each other. For family, friends, and faith communities and for kindness wherever we find it.

Loving God, we are blessed in so many ways, and yet all around us we see the hunger of your people. We see the physical hunger of those who don’t have enough food to sustain them. And we see the spiritual hunger of those whose souls are desperate for meaning and purpose in this life.

You look to us, God, and ask: “How will you feed them?” Help us not to be daunted by the enormity of this question. Remind us that the miracle is in the first step taken to heal the world’s brokenness. Guide us, God, as we offer what we have, such as it is. If all we have is a kind word and a prayer, is that enough?

God, we pray for all of your people, for those we name aloud, and those known only to you. We pray for all who are hungry, or grieving, or lost. For those who are unwell in body, mind or spirit and for those who are facing the end of life on this earth. We pray for all who live in places of war and danger – especially in the Middle East, Iraq and Afghanistan. God, we pray for peace.

These and all our prayers we offer in the name of Jesus, who calls us to the awesome and beautiful mystery that is faith, mission, and ministry. Amen.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Eleventh Hour Preacher Party

Okay, so it's not the eleventh hour yet; it's barely Saturday. However, it is, technically, that pressured preacher day, and hey, it's my first post on the RevGals site, so I wanted to get a jump on things. Big shoes to fill here. Also, I've never been known as an early riser, so I wanted to greet you early birds without actually being awake myself!

I've set the timer on the coffee pot, so it should be ready when you get up. Same rules we use at my favorite camp: if the supply looks low, make another pot before the next person will be forced to drink the dregs. The bar is stocked with a variety of libations (alcoholic and non), but if you want something fancy, you'll have to hang out for a while (there are benefits to paying your way through college and seminary by bartending). Comfy chairs abound, so make yourself at home, and let the creative juices flow! I'll join you when I've slept off my time with the bar ministry and taken the dog for our morning run.

I'm preaching the final sermon in my series on David, so I'm a bit apart from the lectionary, but I'm looking forward to hearing your insights. Now, well, you know what to do. Blessings on your preparation!

Friday, July 28, 2006

hot hot hot friday five

Many areas of the United States are having a heat wave. Global warming, anyone? Look on the bright side of melting glaciers and enviro-destruction by taking a crack at the Friday Five:

1. What's the high temperature today where you are?

2. Favorite way(s) to beat the heat.

3. "It's not the heat, it's the humidity." Evaluate this statement.

4. Discuss one or more of the following: sauna, hot tub, sweat lodge, warm-stone massage.

5. Hottest you've ever been in your life

Non-temperature related bonus: In your opinion... who's hot?

As always, let us know if you play--and those of you who are linking directly to your posts? You're hot. And cool.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

It's a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood....

HI NEIGHBOR!!!

But first a public service anouncement: The Frappr map on the side bar is very exciting and finding out you live closer to a favorite blogger than you thought can also be great. Please be careful about leaving specific locations of folks on blogs and comments. Although a lot of us use our names and pictures and most of us could be figured out with minimal sleuthing it is still important to respect folks' desire to remain as anonymous as possible. Thanks.

Now for the good stuff...

Welcome Auntie Em!

In her own words: I'm seeking my role in Ministry in the United Methodist Church. Finding some interesting friends along the path. She is a cat fan and judging from the pics a very gifted knitter/crocheter, etc...

Welcome Church-stuff-More or less!

JD is new to the journaling crowd and has been on a Lutheran journey: Does the church make sense or do we make it too hard for people to come in? I think yes and yes and the task then is to make it easier. Maybe for someone out there, this will be the case. I write as a Lutheran (or, perhaps a Lutherpalian) although I might seem out of the mainstream from time to time. That's okay, isn't it? Let's blog on.

Welcome Transplanted Buckeye!

In her own words: Ramblings of an native Ohioan learning to live in the South. Sara is located in Texas now and from her posts seems to be enjoying it. I saw references to brisket, rodeos and wild pig as a menu item.

Welcome Listing Straight!

In her own words: I like lists. I have a toddler, husband, and church, so I feel like I'm going through life slightly off-kilter. Listing Straight is a long-time Revgalblogpal commenter and we are glad to welcome her into the official blogging community.

Welcome Sunday's Child!

In her own words: Sunday’s child looked, really looked, at the world around her. At that moment, a life filled with grace discovered a world with too little of it. She almost looked away, and she almost dove right in. But she found herself unable to do either. So she blindly waded into her indecision, searching for some light.

She just celebrated an anniversary so be sure to send your best.

Welcome all of you to the ring. It is so great to have you aboard!

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Wednesday Festival: Potluck!


Ta-ra-ta-ra! It's Potluck Festival Day!! (A little early, but you'll just have to deal with it).

You'll be happy to know that St. Casserole is doing just fine, thank you. And in honor of our potluck theme, I am pleased to share with you her photo. :)

Speaking of potluck, Reverend Mommy has had some outstanding potluck...in fact, something completely different! She also took some perfectly gorgeous pictures. Which means she got to stand still for at least a few minutes, and I call that a mercy.

Cathy (of CathyKnits) shares with us some wonderful Scenes from Childhood. And reverendmother is playing a wonderful childhood game over again.

Rhiannon at Sunday! Sundae! Sunday! has a possibly controversial post --well, a ramble really-- on women, our responsibility to ourselves and society and what it means to be good. This one'll make you think, folks! (and I want to know more about that Mexico trip...!)

Go and read this post by Chickpastor, and then this one. Her church closed this past Sunday. Not only could she use some support, but her reflection about where she is has been beautifully written. It gave this reporter chill-bumps.

Sue is sharing some "Notions" about words that vanish from common vocabulary.

Songbird is on vacation, and guess where? With WillSmama! Hey, a meetup! and apstraight came, too!

Erin is seeking our support. I think she will find that her situation resounds with MANY of us. Hang in there, baby! And speaking of things we can identify with, Will Smama shares a classic pastor's lament.

Oooh, goodie! Jannine Maire of Desert Faith shares her take on the interwoven stories of the disciples on mission, the death of John the Baptist, and the feeding of the five thousand. As I know from lurking at the Preacher Party, those are hard stories to interweave! A beautiful job.

PamBG has posted on her silent Ignatian retreat here and also here.

Christine at the Sacred Art of living wrote about Nature as Icon Space and Into the Forest. She is also writing about the gifts of music and how God's hands are our hands in Be a Blessing. The latter theme was also addressed by Sally in this great sermon for a baptism. Sally also wrote about her family's scary experience on a sailboat in a storm. How appropriate to the lectionary! God is good and no one was seriously hurt.

Mindy has written the funniest story ever!

PilgrimScrybe is wondering about The Kingdom, here and also here. She's interested in YOUR take on this, too.

And finally I, hailing from Terrapin Station, have been considering who our clergy are, and who they should be.

Thank you to everyone for the nominations! They are what makes this Festival work, and I hope you will keep 'em coming! Nominating yourself is PERFECT! So don't be shy.

Blessings to you all.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Tuesday Lectionary Leanings

Cheesehead is out of pocket at an adult retreat with guess what, no itnernet connections. Can you imagine? So I am volunteering to fill the big shoes (metaphorically speaking) of Cheesehead. I am on vacation at the beach while hubby is at a medical conference. (I know, I know, such torturous work, but somebody has got to do it.)

You'll find the readings for this Sunday here. It will be interesting to see where you all are headed with which text.

My focus continues to be on the Ephesians passage, which I have read, but have not yet got a theme or an outline yet. It is one of the two prayers that Paul writes for the Ephesians and it is full of love for them.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Mission Moment Highlights Welcome Bags

Thanks to Mary (Minnesota Preacher Woman) for contributing to Monday Mission Moment today. “ Welcome to the Community Bags” are part of the church’s evangelism efforts as well as a service to new residents of the community. Here is Mary’s description of the project:

"The Welcome Bags have worked well for our congregation to welcome newcomers into our community. As a background, our community has a population of 2,500, is growing very rapidly and is a bedroom community to a larger city. The program is based upon a “Welcome Wagon” idea – and there was no Welcome Wagon in our community.

We went to a screen print store and bought large tote bags and had“Welcome to (our community) from (our church)” printed on the front along with the city logo. At the same time that we had the bags made, we solicited each area business to be a part of the Welcome Bags. They paid $100 to be included in the bags for a period of 2 years. The businesses were encouraged to include brochures or information about their business along with any goodies that they wanted to include. Some businesses used coupons or “2 for one” deals.

Many included goodies, like toothpaste from the dental office. The plumber included a box of great chocolates with the note that their customers deserve to be treated well. A travel agent included a travel mug. Our congregation included a brochure about ourselves and ourpreschool, along with a pen and some post-it notes.

Our city office provides the addresses of all the new residents from the past month. We put a nice tag on each bag along with an address of a newcomer. The bags hang on a coat rack in our entryway. Each week the announcement section of Sunday’s bulletin lists the new addresses we received from the post office that week. Members of the congregation take bags for their new neighbors.

The key to this program is that the bags are delivered by many members of the church. The outreach or evangelism is not just done by the pastor the evangelism committee, but it is done by the membership of the congregation. Many have commented how fun it has been to go and welcome newcomers to our community and invite them to our church.

We currently have 16 businesses involved of the program so the $1,600 completely paid for the tote bags and the goodies we included in the bags.

We made a contract for the businesses to sign – I would be willing to share a copy of the contract or answer any questions you may have about the program."

Don't forget to send your nominations for Wednesday Festival posts in today--use the handy email link on the sidebar. You can nominate one of your own posts, or someone else's. Your Festival hosts thank you for contributions! Keep sending ideas for Monday Mission Moment as well.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Get Yourself Connected

One of the recurring themes in the Friday Five this week was that many of us hope to meet up with other revgals and blogpals. I, for one, was delighted to find a few of us in my own Northern Virginia backyard--and was stunned at just how close a couple of them are.

Happily, there is a tool on the web that can help us find our fellow neighbor ringmates. Frappr! It's built off of Google Maps, and allows you to put a thumbtack on your location for all to see (and you can be as general or as specific as you like, post a picture if you want, and use your real name or your online handle).

Just click this sticker to view our map:
Check out our Frappr!

If you have any problems with it, leave a comment for me here or at this post in my journal.

Sunday Prayer

*Don't forget to nominate yourself or someone else for the RevGal Wednesday Festival. This week's theme is Potluck! Send in or nominate stories about anything you please.

Loving and Most Holy God, we know that you hear our prayers and for this we give you thanks and praise. We thank you for the special blessings we find at this time of the year, when your creation is alive with the colour and wonder of our natural world. We thank you for the warm breezes that brush gently over our faces and for long summer evenings that invite us to relax and nurture our souls.

We thank you God for your constant and loving presence with us. In times of ease and quiet, when we can breathe deeply of your Spirit and feel you close to us, you bring peace and rest.

In times of heartbreaking suffering, when we need to search you out through the cloud of tears that fogs our vision, you are there. God, be with all who are in need of your grace and healing. Wrap them in your warm embrace and whisper assurances on their hearts.

We pray, bring comfort and strength and healing where it is needed, and bring peace to your people everywhere, for we ask it in the name of the Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ. Amen.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

RGBP INC.--It's official!

This afternoon's mail brought the certificate of filing from the Texas Secretary of State's office showing that RevGalBlogPals Inc. was officially incorporated as a non-profit corporation under the laws of the state of Texas effective July 17, 2006.

WOO-HOO and YEE-HAW!!

Here's what happens next:

1. Filing with the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts for state franchise tax exemption
2. Obtaining a federal tax ID number
3. Preparing and filing our application to the IRS for 501-c-3- status

The organizing directors are Songbird, Mary Beth and myself. The three of us will serve until the first group of 7 directors is installed. We will be in touch with each other to adopt the by-laws (which are drafted and have been approved by The Matriarchs), approve the above filings and open a bank account. Then we will be ready to post information about how to join RGBP Inc. and we will schedule a meeting to elect the first group of directors. For your information, you must be a member of the RGBP webring in order to join RGBP Inc.

We can begin operating as a non-profit corporation, but will not be qualified as a 501-c-3 until the IRS approves our application. I'm not sure how long that will take, but hope it won't be more than a couple of months from the time we file our application.

The next 5 weeks will be really hectic for me as my oldest daughter's wedding is September 2. I hope to finish all the paperwork and get it in the mail before then, but can't promise! So I beg your patience in advance.

Meanwhile, let us all rejoice and be exceeding glad as RGBP Inc. has been created!

11th Hour Preacher Party

Oh, my sisters and brothers. The past two weeks I have confidently invited you in, telling you I had a guest preacher or had already written my sermon. But today I meet you Word file in hand, with nothing but a list of fifteen thoughts and a day that includes picking a child up at camp, meeting a college friend who has only two hours today to visit with me during her trip to this part of the country, receiving a second child coming home from camp and doing her laundry to get her ready for another camp tomorrow, and attending a potluck supper at church. (Needless to say I'll have nothing to bring to the latter.)

So, come on in and see if you can find something to drink. If you need me while I'm out, I'll leave my cellphone number. There's not much to eat. Half a bag of corn chips, a box of Pop-Tarts, a whole lot of Gatorade on top of the fridge, a leftover half-sandwich from Thursday...but I will make a fresh pot of Starbucks coffee, using the St. Casserole Ceremonial Coffee Bean Grinder, and there is enough half-and-half to drown a cat if that's your preference, and if you prefer a Mocha, there's a can of Ghirardelli's cocoa in the cupboard.

My list of 15 things to talk about comes from reflection on 2 Samuel and Mark--I began with the idea of talking about our need to get outside the box and find a source for re-creation, but this week my reflection on wide open spaces has come to include memories of the coastline in Mississippi after Katrina, the towns being shelled in Southern Lebanon, and the belongings someone left behind in the little shelter at the dog park after a rainy night. God is in those places, too.

Stop by for encouragement, inspiration and, seriously, if you like the red Gatorade? Just take it home with you. I'll stop in along the way.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Friday Five: RevGalBlogPal Anniversary Edition

Can you believe it has been a whole year?!?!!

Last summer, in the midst of a hurricane threat to a clergywoman blogger somewhere on the Gulf Coast, a dozen or so bloggers began to realize they had become a community. That clergywoman suggested we needed a t-shirt, and in a thread that grew to more than 100 comments, the RevGalBlogPals were born. St. Casserole posed the question on July 19, and by July 21 we had refined the suggested name to connote inclusivity (yes, that was my doing), opened a Cafe Press store (thanks, reverendmother!) and started a WebRing and blog page (kudos to reverend mommy!).

From the beginning our numbers included clergywomen, other women engaged in churchwork as both Christian Ed professionals and devoted volunteers, seminarians and women discerning vocations to Protestant ministry and Catholic sisterhood. We are happy to include several men among our BlogPals, too. For some of us faith is the primary focus of our blogging, while for others it is the quiet underpinning of all we do and blog. We are preachers, mothers, poets, fathers, dog-lovers, cat-bloggers, married and single. We live in the US, Canada, the U.K., Finland and Australia. Our denominations include, but are not limited to, PCUSA, ECUSA, UCC, UCCan, Roman Catholic, United Methodist, Baptists of various stripes, Church of England, AOG, RCA, ELCA and Disciples. And even one UFMCCer! (Thanks, Rainbow Pastor!) (If I left you out, tell me in the comments, and I will keep editing later today.)

I think we could all agree that Hurricane Katrina galvanized this community. Our collective concern for St. Casserole and her family made checking in at this blog a more frequent occurence, and guided our decision to donate profits from a writing effort to Hurricane Relief. reverend mommy suggested the book project and with help from many others we have now self-published two books, A Light Blazes and Ordinary Time.

On a lighter note, we have achieved some modest sales at our Cafe Press Store. There are some 80 pieces of "pulpit" merchandise out there floating around! After a discussion on the blog, we agreed to raise the prices of each item in order to generate mission money, and we designated Heifer Project as the destination. To this date we have given about $80 to Heifer, for beehives and most recently two gaggles of geese! Thank you to reverendmother for continuing to work on this project.


A council meeting of RevGals took place at the Festival of Homiletics in May, and so did a happy meeting between Rev Gals old and new; read about it here.

Many people wonder, when will there be a RevGalBlogPal gathering? In hopes of making such an event possible, your Matriarchs have engaged in applying for incorporation, the first step in becoming a 501(c)3 group able to receive grant money. Great thanks are due to Quotidian Grace for her efforts in this area. Look for further announcements here when there is official news.

And now the Five:

1) What is your first memory of the RevGalBlogPals?

2) Have you met any of the other ring members in real life?

3) Of those you haven't met, name a few you would love to know in person.

4) What has Ring Membership added to your life?

5) Describe a hope for the future of the WebRing.

As always, let us know in the comments if you play. And if you are able to create a link to your post, you will be spared the peevishness of certain Matriarchs...

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Welcome #169!!!

But you can call her Journey Mama. In her own words: I vacilate between extreme energy and desire to change the world and extreme despair and desire to watch too many movies. This last year has been one of the hardest of my life, and through writing it all down, I think I've helped myself to see it as one of the most wonderful...

Journey Mama has been posting on this site for almost a year. Please go over and welcome her to this latest phase - the rev gals (and pals)! She has a beautiful family and creative hobbies. I think you will enjoy getting to know her.

WELCOME JOURNEY MAMA!!!

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Wednesday Festival - Part Two

Getting in here quick before any other servers go down...

Lorna has some interesting summer reading on the go here

Songbird is dealing with all sorts of stuff, wow talk about "adding insult to injury!" on a brighter note have dog; conversations will follow!

Mindy is pushing on through; Still Blue Funky but winning

Leslee is in a reflective mood

Pam is getting ready to move into her first Circuit appointment and shares her last sermon in her home church. Some heart-felt thoughts here.

I'm sure I missed way too many excellent posts from this round up; leave your thoughts in the comments so we can all call in and see...

Sally

Wednesday Festival- Life and all that-Family friends and me too!

Wednesday Festival- Life and all that-Family friends and me too!

Wow my first blog round up for Revgals- thank you to everyone who has been so great at sending in the nominations- it is now Wednesday here in the UK so I am posting early for some but here goes!

I've got to start with the amazing poem published by St Casserole, reminding us not only of the effect of Hurricane Katrina but also of what is truly important in life.

Thoughts on family life include birthday celebrations; Jan's post about her sons birthday , another Happy Birthday to Purechristianthink who is thinking back over other birthdays.
More family life here from me as I reflect on changes

Juniper could do with some advice about meds

Carmen reports that the weather is hot, hot, hot! , on a more serious note she blogs about Seeking voices in the Middle East , Abi takes up a similar theme here

What can Sheba teach you?

Cathy is experiencing some strange goings on...

Christen can't get the respect she deserves- from her dog!

A couple of movie reflections here, and here.

Praying through Chemistry- it makes One Foot smile!

Teri reflects on her time in Egypt.

While Rachel bravely shares her experience of confession

Rhiannon can't believe shes not bleeding!...

Thats it for now- a whole lot of the Typepad blogs are down at the moment so there may be more later.

Sally

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Tuesday Lectionary Leanings: Out of Town Edition

Dear Friends,

Early Sunday morning I will be leaving to go to a six day Synod-wide training event out on the prairie, thus my Parish Associate will be preaching. The lectionary texts for this coming Sunday can be found here.

I look forward to seeing what y'all come up with. I will be looking ahead one week, since although I am gone Sunday-Friday, I have to preach when I get back!

But for today, I am spending several hours with the confirmation class, out on a boat on nearby Pretentious Lake, watching confirmands ski, tube, jet ski, and generally act like kids. I'll be the one in street clothes begging kids to put sunscreen on!

Monday, July 17, 2006

Mississippi Mud

This Saturday evening eight people from my congregation plus one member of another church in our presbytery will arrive here for a week of post-hurricane Katrina reconstruction. We are very excited about this trip as it will be the first "adult" mission trip our church has sponsored in recent memory. Our youth group goes somewhere each year, alternating between projects nearby and projects farther afield, but no one can remember a mission trip for grown-ups in quite a while.

Several of our RGBP ring members live in areas affected by the storms of recent years and our first book project, (see sidebar) directed its proceeds in part to hurricane relief efforts. As we celebrate the one year anniversary of the RevGals ring this week, pause to say a prayer for those still living daily with the impact of Hurricane Katrina.

And remember, if you have a mission project you would like to share, e-mail us at missionmoment@gmail.com and we will share your expericences on our Monday Mission page.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Sunday Prayer

*Don't forget to nominate yourself or someone else for the RevGal Wednesday Festival. This week's theme is Life and All That. Send in or nominate stories about friends, family, crises, or joys, and all that.

Ever-present and ever-loving God, we know that you have promised to be with all of us through life's joys and struggles. I give you thanks and stand in awe at your power and grace. You, who knit me together in my mother's womb, will stay with me through this life and into the Great Somewhere Else when this life is done. Such a wonder as this can overwhelm me at times, but tonight it brings comfort.

Loving God, because I am so aware of your presence with me, I can with confidence know that you are also with those I know to be in need of your special healing presence tonight. I know that you will stay close to my friends who are walking the path of grief this weekend and are feeling their loss so deeply. I know you will be with all who are ill, or fearful or lonely or hungry or sad.

I know that in the midst of the chaos of bombs and politics, you are there, crying with the wounded, weeping with families in bomb shelters who do not know if their loved ones will return to them. You are there, God, with hungry mothers whose breasts can no longer nourish their babies. You cry their tears and hear their prayers, God, and so, with these and all the world's hurting people, I cry out "Help."

Bring strength, courage, and faith to us all. This is our prayer, that by your grace your people will work together to create your realm on earth as you would have it - a place of peace, justice and love. Amen.

11th Hour Preacher Picnic, er, Party

Dear friends,

We are on our way to a Bernese Mountain Dog Picnic, but before I go I am laying the table here for last minute sermon writers. I know at least one of you has a Saturday sermon to preach.

Picture, then, a shady pavilion near the sea, a friendly and supportive group of fellow preachers, a cooler filled with ice and the libations of your choice--and, most importantly, a buffet of inspiration!

Molly
Meanwhile, Molly the Church Dog says, "Woo Woo! I know you'll do a good job!!!" (And if you don't, consider bringing a dog to church. It always works for me!)

I'll be back to check on you mid-afternoon.

Hugs,
Songbird

Friday, July 14, 2006

friday five: pet peeve edition

Reverendmother here with another edition of the Friday Five...

As I shared recently at my place, I am enamored of a newly-acquired treasure, the Illustrated Elements of Style by Strunk and White. It's also awakened the pinched, surly old grammarian in me. I have a few grammatical pet peeves, which I will get into on my blog, but in the meantime, I'm wondering about your pet peeves. Here's your chance to vent, gripe, and grumble to your heart's content. Go ahead, it's therapeutic.

1. Grammatical pet peeve

2. Household pet peeve

3. Arts & Entertainment pet peeve (movie theaters, restaurants, concerts)

4. Liturgical pet peeve

5. Wild card--pet peeve that doesn't fit any of the above categories

Bonus: Because all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God: What do YOU do that others might consider a pet peeve?

Please let us know if you play, and provide a link if you don't mind. I'd love to visit, but having to click on your profile and then your blog is one of my pet peeves. [wink]

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Thursday Meet n' Greet

Wow! These weeks sure do go fast... we will once again stick with the meet part of our schedule with hopefully some good greetin' to come!

Welcome ajt!!! She is in the midst of a cyber move so I didn't have a lot to go on but you do have to like someone who moves partially so they can get the revgalblogpal code into their template. Who can argue with that logic?

In her own words her blog will be the: occasional musings of a newly married, theology-studying musician.

Emily is next for our welcoming committee. Her most recent post gives us some helpful pointers on things not to do as a pastor - steal cattle, dumpster diving - all in a days work for this seminarian.

In her own words: I'm a Presbyterian seminary student, introvert, book loving, neat freak, idealist trying to make it through the preparation process in order to do the work to which God has called me - the pastorate.

Amy! Come on down! You're the next revgalblogpal! In her own words: Life is Random, So is my Blog. I'm a mom, Army wife, seminary student, soon to be licensed minister with the Assemblies of God, U.S. Army Chaplain Candidate, Internet junkie, coffee hobbyist, Web designer...

You can find her at gentlewhisper.com.

Welcome one and all! We are so glad to call you 'revgalblogpals!

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Fun, Fun, Fun Wednesday Festival

Welcome to the BlogFun Wednesday Festival ... Next week we'll feature family and friends and such so email your nominations to: wednesdayfestival@gmail.com!

And now, without further ado:

It wouldn't be sensible to keep your blog the same... Which is why you should read Sense and Nonsense's take on how to update a blog using various templates... What's fun for some!

It's not vacation without kids in the car...(Really the whole thing shouldn't be a link, but I'm not always so savvy.) And a vacation picture, which I think could make you some money (at least in some parts!)... Along those same lines, Cheesehead


Psalmist from The Psaltery posts a "Hump Day Humor" post and this past week it was devoted to "Saints There Ought To Be." Check this out and suggest your made-up saints' names. I know you have them. St. Pink Shoes has a certain ring to it, I'm thinking... She-Who-Keeps-All-in-Stylish-Shoes... Anyway, on with the festival. Although Kathryn has a different way of getting you thinking about the saints.

In this post Calacirian is a soldier of a different sort, and guess what a winning soldier! Especially when one considers what the digging earlier in the summer would have eradicated... mmmmmmmmm.... summer berries! Gord tries his hand at a summer weather meme... head on over and play! While you're there, check out the riddle that's one post back. It nearly made me spit my drink.

If you're looking for some anagrammatic goofiness (and really, who isn't?), desert faith has just what you need!

Perhaps you've read this tale... of appliance woe. If yes, read it again, if no, read it. Kitchens continue at KEWP's... dish obsessed as I am? Stay away from these adorable, amazing dishes. No kitchen is complete, though, without one of these...

Splishin' and splashin' If only all pastors were this much fun. Sue has been charmed.

Hungry for summer? I am after reading these recipes at Nueva Cantora.
But not for this. I completely and totally agree, and I have often wondered the same thing myself.

St. Casserole shares a poem about livin' with teens. Ginger shares some great kid/Texas stories. Or, you could have kitties like these.... Chosen also blogs about handling herself and kids; this post is not necessarily funny, but as the nominator suggests, anyone who can write this has to have a sense of humor! I'm learning that it helps to have a sense of humor when it comes to raising kids! But lest you think it's all about kids... it's not.

Here's a picture that'll make you giggle! And so will these and these. Lorna posts a different cartoon... This cartoonist also makes an appearance at sally's place... very good stuff!

Don't already read Jeff's pop-culture round-up? It's an every-Friday occurence... Can't understand soccer? Try watching it in Spanish! Unless of course you speak Spanish... then perhaps another language would work for you! Stranger yet, look at Poor Mad Peter's entry here.

Let us know about other fun postings in the comments and don't forget to email us for next week.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Tuesday Lectionary Leanings

Last week I did something that I've never done before. I preached the first part of a two-parter. Now that means, of course, that I have to go on and write the second part. This is how I left it:

"We need each other. God designed us to work together. We have been given our marching orders. When the disciples figured this out, Eugene Peterson in The Message says this: Then they were on the road. They preached with joyful urgency that life can be radically different; right and left they sent demons packing, they brought wellness to the sick, anointing their bodies, healing their spirits.

Oh—and one other thing: if you want to hear what happens—what really happens to us when we sign up for discipleship—be sure to come back next week and hear the second part of the story. Thanks be to God."


So, dear readers, I will be continuing with Mark. More specifically I will be telling this story. Discipleship is dangerous. Sometimes a person can lose her head.

This is what I am exploring this week. What about you?

Sunday, July 09, 2006

It's Mission Monday Again

For this Monday's Mission Moment we present a post by Songbird about this unique ministry at her congregation. Remember: if you have a mission project you want to tell others about, e-mail us at missionmoment@gmail.com and you may see your ministry featured on Monday someday soon.

I was sitting at a church meeting almost three years ago when I noticed a woman knitting what looked like an enormous blanket. It was actually a Prayer Shawl, a long rectangle, perfect for throwing around the shoulders, wide enough to wrap around a mother and her child, soft and comforting. I discovered that the idea for a Prayer Shawl Ministry had come from two women studying at Hartford Seminary, and I brought the idea home to Stevens Avenue Congregational Church.
I didn't expect to start knitting again myself. After a case of tendonitis, I had given up knitting. But the needles for a Prayer Shawl are so big, it occurred to me that I might be able to handle them. Soon a group of women at church were meeting to knit, and I was knitting with them.
Isn't it in 1 Thessalonians 5 that Paul admonishes us to knit without ceasing? Look it up!
Oh, well; maybe not. Perhaps he tells us to pray without ceasing, after all.
Knitting a Prayer Shawl is praying, I find. The pattern of knit 3, purl 3, is rhythmic as music. The yarn of choice is fussy enough that it requires focus from the knitter. It is inexpensive enough that cost is no barrier to participating. It comes in varied hues and solids. Many of its shades form surprising stripes that you would never expect when choosing a skein.
We made Prayer Shawls for homebound church members, for families with new babies, gave them to members in the hospital. We kept knitting when it seemed we had more than we could ever give away, and then they would be needed, and we would start again. Each Prayer Shawl has been blessed in church. On one Sunday, I brought a dozen shawls into the Sanctuary in a large basket and asked the children to hold them up so that the congregation could see the different shawls. Some children were reverently still, and others danced, and one simply spun around, the colorful shawl spread wide above her head. There are many ways to give God thanks and praise!
Twelve of the shawls spent three months last year traveling in a box to South Africa, where my friends Anne Marsh and Scott Lovaas were serving as United Church of Christ missionaries. Anne worked with a group of women who are HIV positive to develop a beadwork cooperative as a source of income. Around town I run into people wearing the little AIDS badges they beaded, hanging from safety pins, and we give each other a smile of recognition. Some are wearing pins I took off my coat to give away. Others bought them at church fairs. After two years of handling the work of the beading women's hands, my knitting ladies wanted to send the work of our hands to them. Click here for a picture of the ladies on the day they received their shawls.
Some have gone a shorter distance. My friend the Rev. Dr. Judith Blanchard is the Protestant Chaplain at Maine Medical Center. Her ministry is supported in large part by donations from Protestant churches all over the state of Maine. Our small church gives some money each year, but we also bring her shawls. Some have gone home with patients who didn't expect to ever leave the hospital. Others have been wrapped around patients who died there.
Our most recent adaptation of the Ministry is also for the hospital. Barbara Bush Children's Hospital at Maine Med has a constant population of infants born to addicted mothers, between four and eight on any given day. Some of these children will go home to their mothers, most to foster care. We are now knitting half-size prayer shawls for these babies, with the hope that whoever cares for them when they leave the hospital will see the shawls as a sign of the immeasurable value these children have in God's eyes.
When I first suggested knitting Prayer Shawls, someone told me we didn't have any knitters at church. To date, our circle of knitters is in double digits and still growing. For more information about knitting a prayer shawl, visit the Prayer Shawl Ministry website.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Sunday Prayer

Announcements Announcements Annou-ou-ncements..... *Don't forget to nominate yourself or someone else for the RevGal Wednesday Festival. This week's theme is BlogFun!! Send in funny stories, memes, and other bloggy fun.

God of our Journeys, today I pray for travelers. Vacations, work, a relocation across many miles or a trip across town......so many people are on the move at this time of the year. I pray that you will provide safety and guidance and a sense of your presence on all the journeys of your people.

Whether we journey from home to church, from gladness to grief, from middle age to our gloaming, from single life to married life, from the crowded world to our private solitude -- God, stay close and guide our steps. Inspire us to call upon you in times of great joy with heartfelt thanksgiving, for to do so makes it easier to call upon you in times of heartache and loss. When things go wrong, God, help me to turn toward you and not away from you.

God of Grace, as I lead in our worship tomorrow, I pray for the power and presence of the Spirit in our midst. I've done my part to prepare, and to ready my own soul, the rest is up to you. Only you can take the words and the silences and the music and the spirit of our worship and reach into the heart of someone who needs you. Let your seemingly accidental grace work its power in worship wherever two or more are gathered today, for this and all we do, is in the name of the One we call Christ. Amen.

11th Hour Preacher Party

Welcome back! It's Saturday morning, and Thomas Wolfe would like you to know "You Can't Go Home Again." Jesus reflects on just that thought in this week's gospel passage, Mark 6:1-13. How many of us would be able to go to the places we started and be accepted in our pastoral roles? As someone who came from a denomination that will not ordain women, I know I could not. But the important thrust of this week's lectionary passages is commissioning. Jesus sends forth the disciples, David is acknowledged as king by the elders of Israel, and Ezekiel tells of being sent by God.

How about you? Do you have a sense of where you're being sent tomorrow? What message will you tuck into your belt as you pick up your staff and head into worship? And are you ready to shake the dust off if no one can hear it?



Let us know what you're preaching about, and how it's going today, in the comments below!

And, seriously? Don't try it in these.

Friday, July 07, 2006

A Short Friday Five

A Short meme for what was for many a shortened week:
tell us about five noteworthy Short things in your life.
(Be liberally imaginative.)

Short People

Short Hops

Short Stories

Short Lists

Short Stops

As always, let us know in the comments if you play on your blog!!

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Thursday Meet n' Greet

This is the part of the week where we will get to meet new members of the web ring and greet those we already know in a more in depth fashion. Reverend Mommy and I will be your hosts. Currently we are still working on our blogger questionaire so for today I will focus on the 'meet' part...

CHECK THESE BLOGGERS OUT!!!
Melissa is a seminary student at Drew Theological School in New Jersey. Her blog can be found at: Going on to Perfection... Well, that is one of her blogs anyway. I'll let you peruse to see if there is another way to get to know her.

In her own words: I'm originally from Maine, but currently living in exile in New Jersey. I'm a United Methodist from birth, and hope to be an ordained elder serving the New England Conference one day. I'm currently fascinated by the emerging church movement, and part of me thinks it would be interesting to start an emergent UMC in New England. But, we'll see if that's what God has in store for me!

Right now she is walking through the discernment process of choosing a supervised ministry. You also gotta love that she just jumped right into the revgalblogpal Friday Five.

Barbara is from Oklahoma and describes herself as: a postmodern homemaker, at-home mom, homeschooler, and afterschooler, with a Web-based business and a, um, calling for faith formation. How did I get here from grad school in meteorology? My best answer: "Grace happens."

She blogs at Effervesence. I spied with my little eye 2 kids, nearly a year of posts, knitting needles, books and YES the Revgalblogpal Friday Five.

Next we welcome Chosen who blogs at: Warrior's Heart (although I got to say I like her url better: preachinmomma.)

In her own words: Married with children. (5!) I am a writer with several projects in the works that will be published soon. And...Oh yeah--I just happen to be called to preach!

Located in Tennessee, 'Chosen' blogs on Scripture, marriage and being the best Christians we can be.

Finally a confused welcome to St. John's Rev Abi. Confused because I don't think Rev Abi is new but what the heck! Here she is in her own words: I am a female United Methodist Minister serving in the Shoals area of AL. I've been doing this for quite some time now, but I don't know it all, and am not an old hat. I have served in a variety of ministry positions. I am married with three wonderful children, 2 dogs and 2 cats.

She most recently posts about Fourth of July memories and I know she is a frequent commenter on our own blogs.

WELCOME REV ABI, CHOSEN, BARBARA AND MELISSA!!!

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

First Wednesday Festival

Welcome, one and all, to the First Wednesday Festival...Writing!
Some of these were self-nominations, and some came from others. If you have something wonderful to share for next week's edition, please don't be shy...send it on in to WednesdayFestival@gmail.com. Deadline is midnight on Monday!
FYI: The Second Wednesday Festival Topic will be Blogfun! Memes, Quizzes, Recipes, Photos...

Lord, may our Festivalling bless and uplift us, and may we glorify You as we share with and support each other...

First, and classically, we have sermons:
Did you see Cheesehead's wonderful homily for a double funeral? The Ampersand tells of a couple who were only separated, in their 70 years together, by World War II and by the two days between their deaths. Get your hankies ready.

Sally has dared a narrative sermon, and Songbird shared her wonderful dramatic reading from Sunday, based on 2 Samuel 1:1, 17-27; Mark 5:21-43 and "Sleeping in the Forest" by Mary Oliver.

Who Are We? How Are We Called to Be Here?
Carmen writes of Superman's Return, and of who she is. And who we all are, and are to be. PamBG writes about women in church leadership, and what women and men need from church - is it different? Sally writes about her call to ordained ministry in Not a Feminist. Lorna, too, is writing about her calling. Jan (Starving Artists) has started a good discussion about dysfunctional clergy and where clergywomen fall in that mix.

Here's a very personal note on the subject of being called, from Ann at Your Only Comfort:
"Hi there, I've been quite quiet of late, mostly in part of being a little shy regarding posting anything publicly in the time leading up to my ordination exams. Well, the exams happened on Tuesday night. The classis (our version of a presbytery) decided by a vote of 16-18 not to ordain me on account of my honesty about being gay. I finally managed to get it together to to post about the events on my blog tonight. Here it is. Thank you all for being such a great group of RevGals. Hopefully with the vote behind me, I can post more often. I really appreciate the blessings of this wonderful community. With best regards, Ann."

Ann's sermon to her congregation is embedded in the link. "Do not fear. Only believe." Dearest Ann, 163 pairs of virtual arms are reaching out to embrace you, and we weep with you and your congregation and your family. Courage and peace and blessing are flowing your way.

What about The Church?
Diversity is NOT Crisis. The post is a commentary/meditation from Jannine Marie on assumptions about change, growth, and diversity, from an Episcopal perspective. It ends with a prayer for peace.

More thinking about National Church actions from Quotidian Grace: "Trust,But Check Your Thermometer," about the Presbyterian General Assembly's actions.

The Theology of Sexuality
PamBG has a thought-provoking post on Blessing Civil Partnerships: Why I do not think that the theology of homosexual acts is a Gospel issue.

Just Plain Great Writing
Sue writes thoughtfully about her journey with depression in a three-part series. Start reading with part one.

Rachel thinks about confession at: "There Are 7 of 'Em"

Hipchickmamma had a great post this past week about images of the Feminine and the language we use in worship.

Contemplative Chaplain had a really amazing ministry moment when the gift of humor came blazing through. Don't miss it.

Catherine's Reflections on Thursday Healing and Eucharist "is an exquisite poem on her personal experience of the Eucharist. Wonderful, sensitive writing. It made me feel as though I were there, kneeling beside her." And here's another poem from Tara at Praying on the Prairie.

Sr. Steph sticks up for Doubting Thomas, "who always seems to get a bad rap."

Jan at A Church For Starving Artists wrote a very strong post about worship and the 4th of July.

and,

One-Foot learned what it's like to be on the receiving end of ministry and caring... perhaps a very overlooked part of ministry, letting others minister to us.

If you have other posts to add to this Festival, please do share them with us in the comments...and have A Blessed Week!

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Tuesday Lectionary Leanings

Greetings from the Heartland!

Today as many of us will be with family members, the words from Mark's Gospel seem most appropriate. How does the gospel read in our hometowns, among our kin? When I was ordained in the PC(USA), I planned an ordination service that I knew would be very unfamiliar and kind of confusing for my family who are Assemblies of God, Non-denominiational, and Roman Catholic. My parents didn't know a single hymn that was sung that day, but they were very good sports about it.

It seems that the larger issues of this passage are authority, power, and validation of ministry. When Jesus himself is mocked in his hometown by those who know him best, "Isn't that Joseph and Mary's boy?" He turns around and sends out the twelve, stripped down, with only each other to depend on.

Is Jesus speaking to the isolation that many of us clergy feel, as if we are out there naked and abandoned, trying to spread the gospel, heal, comfort, and teach with nothing but our wits alone? How will this translate to the pew?

I'm glad it is only Tuesday, and that I have the drive back to Snow Belt to wrestle with these issues! What are you wrestling this week?

Monday, July 03, 2006

Monday Mission Moment: Volunteer Optometrists

Welcome to the RGBP’s new Monday blog feature—Monday Mission Moment.

PureChristianIThink (of Rebel without a Pew) and I are teamed up to bring this to you each week. Our goal is to highlight an interesting mission that our blogging community is involved in. We hope these posts will inspire more mission and outreach as you find new ideas for Christian service. Today and next Monday we will describe projects that we are familiar with. But we want and need your ongoing participation for future posts, and a photo or two is always welcome. Email your suggestions for this feature to: missionmoment@gmail.com. Please include a description of the project and the sponsoring organization.

Today’s Monday Mission is Volunteer Optometric Services to Humanity (VOSH), a program that my good friend and fellow church member, Dorothy Goforth, participates in each year. The young man examining a patient in the photo here is her son, Marshall, who was part of this year’s team. Thank you, Dorothy, for the photos and the story!

Now I’ll let Dorothy tell you all about it.

“ My sister, Dr. Nancy Clark of Danville, Virginia has been participating in mission trips through VOSH for many years. She has traveled throughout Mexico and Central America. Her 21 year old daughter has been part of these trips since starting high school. Three years ago a program for computer matching the eyeglass inventory with prescriptions was developed and she needed someone familiar with computers to help in the dispensary so I volunteered! I have now completed three trips with Nancy, all in San Cristobal, Chiapas, Mexico. This past year my 18 year old son joined us as well. What a blessing that was!

San Cristobal is high in the mountains of southern Mexico. Most of our patients are rural villagers of Mayan descent. They speak various Mayan dialects and some speak Spanish. It makes for some very interesting conversation when you have to go through a double interpreter! English is rare with the Indians, although in the town it is fairly common. Also, for the past two years, we have had Dutch optometric students on board so things get really crazy. Most of the village men and young folk read a little, while the older women do not.

For the most part the women need reading glasses to help them with their beautiful embroidery and weaving. Sunglasses are really in demand for the farmers and the children love them as well. Glasses are a coveted item and we find that many of our patients don’t want to wear them all the time – they save them for special occasions.

In San Cristobal we set up shop in the Tzotzil Bible School, which is run under the auspices of the Mexican Presbyterian Church. (Tzotzil is one of the many Mayan dialects). The patients first undergo a screening process, where their name, age, occupation and very brief medical history is taken. The first vision test with an eyechart (symbols for non readers) is done next. They then have a more detailed vision screening, at which point they will finally see one of the doctors or optometric students. If an entire village has come together, as often happens when a bus is sent for them, this process can take half a day.

Cataracts and other acute vision problems are referred to an ophthalmologist, although we have begun to realize that this doesn’t usually mean much. However we try to focus on what we can accomplish, rather than what we cannot. The prescriptions are then brought to the dispensary, where we use the computer program to select the closest match available in our inventory. Our opticians make any necessary adjustments and explain about bifocals if necessary for some of the adults. It is surprising how often we can get very close to the needed prescription. For me the most gratifying part of this work is watching people look around them with needed eyeglasses, especially a child with very poor vision who has never worn glasses before. Leave-takings are often accompanied by a hug and a kiss and a very quiet “Gracias, Hermana”.

We bring as many eyeglasses as we can in our luggage since shipping is iffy at best. In San Cristobal, as well as other sites, there is often an inventory of glasses available from past mission groups as well, though it takes much longer to match prescriptions with eyeglasses that are not in the computer inventory.

The eyeglasses are obtained through the Lions Club, as well as donations from all our churches. This is a great way to get my church involved, even though only 2 of us actually go on the trip. Our work group this year contained members from Virginia, Texas, Iowa and Holland. In the 4 ½ days that the clinic was open, we saw about 800 people. Most of them left with eyeglasses, including lots of sunglasses and reading glasses, and smiling faces.”

VOSH is a national organization with different state chapters. You can check their website for more information and lists contacts for chapters in each state. This is a project that churches of any size can get involved in. Although specific skills are required for the volunteers that go on the trips, donations of prescription glasses and non-prescription sunglasses are always needed and can be a great project for small groups.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Sunday Prayer

Announcements Announcements Annou-ou-ncements..... *Don't forget to nominate yourself or someone else for the RevGal Wednesday Festival.


God of Life and Love, God of Freedom, hear this prayer tonight. As the fireworks crackle outside my window tonight in celebration of Canada Day, I am aware of how very blessed I am to live in this place at this time. I have the freedom to speak my mind, to criticize or support a democratically elected government, and to move about freely in relative safety. I pray tonight for those who are not so blessed. For those who live in fear that they, or their loved ones, will be arrested and taken away without cause. For those whose loved ones have been taken away and will not return.

I pray for children who have known only war, hunger and fear; and for women who are oppressed and abused in radically patriarchal cultures; and for all who are marginalized and harmed by political regimes who operate in the shadow of death.

As the brief and colourful abandon of fireworks in Canada and the US brighten our skies this weekend, let the freedom they represent remind us of the rich blessings you bring to us. May our hearts yearn for freedom for all of your people upon the earth. May each of us be agents of your love, your peace, and your justice. Amen.

11th Hour Preacher Party

It's Saturday morning. Do you know where your sermon is?

I had an inspiration earlier in the week to write a four-voice drama to go in the sermon slot tomorrow. At the moment, however, I have only three readers, so I either need to change my plan to include a different reader (playing a whole new character), or I need to bag the whole thing and write a sermon.

I'm using two of the lectionary texts, 2 Samuel 1:1, 17-27 and Mark 5:21-43. My thought was to hear these voices, two male and two female, telling of their brokenness and the healing that came from it, then to move to the Communion table and speak for a few minutes about how our healing comes from Jesus' willingness to be broken. The characters are David, Jairus, the Woman Who Touched Jesus' Garment and A Mother who we eventually realize is the Earth.

The trouble is, I have no one to read Jairus.

Also, I haven't finished writing the piece yet...

Consider this an open thread in which to share where you are, or aren't, to ask for encouragement, or to offer support. Some of us have done this informally via e-mail on Saturday nights, and we want to extend the love when it is needed!!

Leave a comment and let us know how it's going for you today.