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Saturday, September 29, 2007

A Southern Tailgate Preacher's Party




Hi all, I am putting out the welcome mat for ya'll, here at the Tailgate Party. Come on by, bring your laptop, your sermon, your angst, your questions, your food, your coffee and any other comfort food that will help us all survive the 11th hour. Come on ya'll we can do it together. I'll be watching football, between tumbling lessons, piano practice, a birthday party for one of the kid's friends, and my own 11th hour sermon writing.

I have cooked up a Southern breakfast for us, to begin with plus the usual leaded and unleaded coffee, and hot water for those who are tea drinkers.



I am preaching a series on the Beatitudes, and this sermon is on Blessed are those who mourn. This will be interesting. What are you all writing, thinking about.



By the way, Songbird is away this weekend. She graciously asked me to host this party. So let the tailgating er writing begin.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Friday Five: Reverendmother's Swan Song


Well friends, as I prepare for the birth of Bonus Baby, it's time to simplify life, step back from the Friday Five, and let one of the other capable and creative RevGals take the helm. It's been a great almost 17 months of co-hosting the F5, but it's time to say goodbye... so here's my swan song.


On Endings and Goodbyes:

1. Best ending of a movie/book/TV show

2. Worst ending of a movie/book/TV show

3. Tell about a memorable goodbye you've experienced.

4. Is it true that "all good things must come to an end"?

5. "Everything I ever let go of has claw marks on it." --Anne Lamott
Discuss.


Bonus: "It isn't over until the fat lady sings." I've never loved this expression. So propose an alternative: "It isn't over until ____________________"


Let us know in comments if you play. Post a direct link to your blog entry in your comment using the following formulation:
<a href="the url of your blog post goes here">what you want the link to say goes here</a>
For a complete how-to, click here.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

RevGalBookPals announces upcoming books!

Ask the Matriarch will resume next week. Until then, we announce the upcoming books that RGBP will be discussing. Purchase these from these links and RGBP will benefit. Check them out from your local library, and you will save a tree and increase the book circulation (which your local librarian will say THANKS!)

Folks, here are the upcoming books for our book discussion in the RGBP Amazon Store (notice the widget on the side? Yup, that's it!)

So.... here we go....

OCTOBER



October, we will discuss Barbara Kingsolver's Animal Vegetable Miracle: A Year of Food Life

I don't know a soul who doesn't eat --- but how can we be better stewards of the food we eat and how can be love our neighbor as we do it? This book looks at food as we eat it today, with recipes to boot. Not only that, Kingsolver's husband looks at the food industry and its relationship with the government, along with one of Kingsolver's daughter, who shares her perspective to changing their eating habits to eat locally and seasonally. Mary Beth and Cathy will be leading the discussion.

NOVEMBER




November will bring the book Thirst: Poems by Mary Oliver - led by Diane of Faith in Community

A new chapter in Mary Oliver's illustrious career, this collection takes us inside the poet's grief and her discovery of faith Thirst, a collection of forty-three new poems from the Pulitzer Prize-winner Mary Oliver, introduces two new directions in the poet's work. Grappling with grief at the death of her beloved partner of over forty years, she strives to experience sorrow as a path to spiritual progress, grief as part of loving and not its end. And within these pages she chronicles for the first time her discovery of faith, without abandoning the love of the physical world that has been a hallmark of her work for four decades. In three stunning long poems, Oliver explores the dimensions and tests the parameters of religious doctrine, asking of being good, for example, "To what purpose? / Hope of Heaven? Not that. But to enter / the other kingdom: grace, and imagination, / and the multiple sympathies: to be as a leaf, a rose,/ a dolphin."

DECEMBER



As many of you know Madeleine L'engle recently passed away and entered into God's Kingdom. Many of you know her from her children's books, with the most notable being A Wrinkle in Time. We thought that a collection of her writings would be lovely during the month of December and the seasons Advent and during the Christmas season, so we will be discussing and reading Wintersong: Christmas Readings by L'Engle and her friend Luci Shaw. It will be led by Revhrod of You Don't Have to Listen, I Just Like to Talk.

JANUARY



We bring in the 2008 year in with Listening For God: A Ministers Journey Through Silence and Doubt by Renita Weems. Led by Mompriest of Seeking Authentic Voice.

Throughout the past two decades, Renita J. Weems has been noted and praised for her writing, galvanizing national speaking, and pioneering scholarship in the field of Old Testament studies. Yet in the midst of her celebrated work, she was experiencing a profound spiritual crisis permeated by a hollow, painful silence that seemed, at times, to mark an irreparable rupture in her communication with God.

In this deeply affecting book, Weems addresses the believer's yearning for God through periods of inconstancy, vacillation, and disenchantment. Her own spiritual disquietude will be familiar to all who struggle to maintain faith while the details of daily life -- negotiating with children and spouses, caring for ailing parents, living up to professional expectations, developing hobbies, managing finances, and planning for the future -- compete for energy with one's relationship with God. In sharing her own strategies for redefining mundane rituals so that they contribute to reverence and devotion, Weems offers a beacon of light for all believers struggling to listen for God amidst the din of worldly demands and distractions.


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Since Ask the Matriarch has taken a brief break this Thursday, I thought I would pose questions to you about the book discussions.


1. What books would you like to discuss in upcoming discussions?

There are several things we look at, accessibility and availability are certainly a priority, along with affordability.

2. Does your church have a book club or book discussion group? If so, what does the group read?

3. If we were to have a movie discussion, what movies would you like to discuss? Those already on DVD or the ones just released?

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Wednesday Festival ---- WHEE Edition!

Here we go on a late Wednesday afternoon where it is a full moon (or was last night) and we are at the last Wednesday of the month as we are sliding into October. Anyway, this festival is loaded, because, thanks to you, we HEARD from you!!!! Thank you for all the snitches on yourself as well as others. Hold on to your hats - this is fast and furious!

  • Gallycat has been facing beautiful days, tough questions about her denomination, and a whole mess of silly stuff. visit her recent entries. and you can say you missed me if you want, it's been a while!

  • Believe it or not Quotidian Grace has gone into the song lyrics business - Got a frustrated job-hunting child, spouse or maybe you are looking in vain? Babs' Job-Hunting Blues worked for her and maybe it will work for you, too!
  • Some people may think Preachermom is crazy , (I don't!) but experiences like this one are powerful ones.

  • Here's Coffeepastor's review of the book Take This Bread by Sara Miles. (It's on my bednight table -- I need to read it!)

  • Revgaldogpals? Our dogs go to church....with a little side discussion on animals in heaven.
  • Lisa is totally confused about the theology about a new song hitting the streets in kiwiland (New Zealand) and needs some help working out the theology behind it!

  • Christine invites to participate in another Poetry Party over at Abbey of the Arts.

  • With Worldwide Communion coming (and it falls on Thanksgiving weekend in Canada this year) Gord has written a Communion Prayer. You can find it here.
  • Sally shares a post on loving ourselves ..

  • Jonah, at Love During Wartime, shares two prayers adapted from Native
    American traditions.

  • Mary Beth enjoyed Pledge Ingathering Sunday and a new way of receiving pledges at her church.

  • Sally has taken part in a synchroblog on Christianity and neo-paganism- there are links to other posts too!

  • Lutheran Husker has celebrated his 200th post, and asked his good friend RevScott to interview him. Take a look at the questions and answers!

  • Here is a link to a post Yutegal wrote concerning youth ministry and her current struggle with losing sight of what is important.

  • Momma Helen's got a bit on her blog about the Sunday School making prayer benches. Check out this FANTASTIC project.

  • Soon to be announced are the books for November, December, and January's RGBP Book Discussion (or you can check out the sidebar and go to the store and get a sneak peak!)

    That's it for the fast and furious Wednesday Festival. Make sure you drop by and leave an comment for these folks to let them know you dropped by. It's the neighborly thing to do!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Tuesday Lectionary Leanings:back in the saddle edition

Friends,

I'm back in the pulpit on Sunday after eight days away on study leave. While I was away from the office I planned the liturgies, scriptures, sermon titles, and hymns for the rest of the calendar year. Now I just hope I can remember what I planned for this Sunday!

Ah yes, I seem to remember the passage from Jeremiah that is part of this week's lectionary. I'm fascinated by this story of the purchase of a piece of land( the field of Anathoth) that was by all accounts worthless, and for the care taken to make sure the deed is preserved for the future.

Sometimes it seems as if all our best efforts are worthless deeds stored up in earthenware jars for a better day and a better time. At the same time, there can be tremendous hope in this--what if God's work in us is a promise for another day?

I'm thinking of the quote: "The true meaning of life is to plant trees, under whose shade you do not expect to sit. ~Nelson Henderson"

Isn't that what a church is--a community planting seeds, the harvest of which they may not see?

That's what is swirling around in my head--what about you?

Monday, September 24, 2007

RevGalBookPals--"Good Fences: The Boundaries of Hospitality"


Hello, RevGals and Pals!

Our book for September is Good Fences: The Boundaries of Hospitality, written by Caroline A. Westerhoff. The author, a former senior consultant with the Alban Institute, uses personal recollections and stories of church life to illustrate her thesis that we cannot welcome people into our lives or our churches without having a clear idea of what sets us apart from them.

The book comes with a discussion guide for church groups interested in exploring their own attitudes about and practices around hospitality. I hope you will take a look at them as well as the following questions:

1. My own church is currently seeking ways to live into four areas identified in a visioning process. The first two happened to be Identity and Hospitality. When church members asked for help with Hospitality, I suggested that they needed to be clear about Identity first, and this is Westerhoff's supposition. What is your response to the Boundaries First/Hospitality Second paradigm? Is there more to Identity than Boundaries? Or is there another metaphor that might feel more helpful?

2. How important is the distinction between essentials and non-essentials in your understanding of boundaries?

3. On page 87 of the paperback edition, Westerhoff describes the participation of a group of visiting Buddhist monks who came to the rail for Communion at her church. What was your response to this story and the discussion that took place after? Do we control the eucharist? Are there "levels" of hospitality?

4. If you have had a chance to do a unit or more of Clinical Pastoral Education, you have heard a story like the one of page 98. A student feels distressed after baptizing a baby who had already died, conflicted about what baptism means and whether it was appropriate in this case, but also certain that the parents needed pastoral care in this form. How do you respond to this case study? What might you have done in the student's position?

5. The epilogue of the book contains a lengthy story about a church's process in choosing to fence in its property. Please share your reactions.

6. Westerhoff calls on Jesus' self-description as a "narrow gate" in support of her thesis that our boundaries must be clear. Where do you think Jesus would draw his lines?

7. In Chapter 5, Westerhoff refers us to the baptismal covenant as a means to test our boundaries. Does this feel like a helpful tool?

8. Westerhoff admits that others are better-suited than she to certain practices of hospitality. How do you strive to *be* a neighbor in your own neighborhood? What are the challenges of being a neighbor?

I'll share more thoughts in the comments and hope you will do the same.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Sunday Afternoon Music Video

Last week, RevScott said his congregation sang this in church --- I just happen to have this listed as a favorite on my Youtube list and thought I would share. It's a hymn appropriate any time of year, but happens to be on a Christmas CD.

Come thou fount of every blessing, from Sufjan Stevens Songs for Christmas




Don't forget tomorrow's book discussion of Good Fences: Boundaries of Hospitality by Caroline Westerhoff. It will be led by our very own Songbird. For tomorrow, I have a challenge -- even if you haven't read the book, drop by and say hi -- delurk, won't you? I'll even go out on a personal limb and do a drawing of a randomly generated number at the end of the day and the number post picked --- will get an upcoming RGBP book from the books discussed in the upcoming months! (Soon to be announced!) How's that for getting comments!
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Last week, I asked you all what you all sang in church and the responses were wonderful. One of the beauties of the church is the diversity of its music -- just imagine all that praying in song going on all at one time with voices in unison (or harmony).

So again, I ask you, what did you sing this Sunday at church???? Any favorites?

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Sunday Prayer

God of Sun and Moon, Star and Sky, your wonder is beyond our imagining. We thank you for the gift of this world we share, and for the common bonds that we share as your children.

Bless us God, as we seek to find a way toward the peace you invite us to share. Guide us God as we walk that delicate line between being faithful to our own relationship with you, and yet remain understanding of those whose path is vastly different from our own. Remind us often that being faithful does not require that we close ourselves off from the faith of others.

Gracious God, open our hearts, minds and spirits to people of every faith, creed and culture. May our own faith be so much a part of our being that it is not threatened by the faith practices of others. May the Mystery of your ways be the bridge that draws all of your people together in prayer for peace in our time.

God of Compassion, we pray for those who are in special need of your grace and healing today.

For those who live in fear of violence; for refugees everywhere; for political prisoners and for those who imprison them; God, we ask for peace.

For those who are grieving, or hungry, or in despair; for the lonely, and all who are ill or suffering, for any who struggle with addiction, and for all who live with chronic illness.

God, we trust in your power to be present with the suffering. We trust in your Spirit’s power to bring comfort, faith and strength where it is needed. We pray, bring your radical, scandalous peace into our midst, and touch us all with your love, for we ask it in the name of the One who calls us ever forward, Jesus Christ…
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Don't forget the Wednesday Festival: it's easy! Anyone can play!

All you have to do is click on the hyperlinked words: RevGal Wednesday Festival to create a mail message to the Festival team.

Nominations should be from your own blog or another RGBP ring member's. Please include a brief description of the post (a sentence is fine!) and the URL for the post, too!

Saturday, September 22, 2007

11th Hour Preacher Party - Millenial Edition

I have been informed that this is the 1001st post on the RevGals blog. 1000+ posts, and here we still are, preparing our sermons together at the last minute! A victory indeed.

If you're on the lectionary this week, you're probably dealing with some pretty significant questions...such as, what on earth was Jesus thinking??? For that matter, that could be true of most any portion of the Bible. It's a puzzling book more often than not, and it's a puzzling job trying to make sense of it from week to week. So, what are you thinking and questioning this week? How are you bringing good news to your people?

The coffee is flowing freely. I've recently been lectured about my caffeine addiction, so there's plenty of tea, too. It's autumn in upstate NY, which means that a delivery of warm apple cider donuts will be arriving sometime in the near future. May the inspiration come as readily. Let's get this party started!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Friday 5- de-cluttering edition.


With Jo, Jon and Chris all moving to college and University accommodation there has been a big clear up going on in the Coleman household. We have been sorting and trying hard not just to junk stuff, but actually to get it to where it can be useful. On a brighter note we have used Freecycle ( check it out) to provide the twins with pots and pans etc that other folk were clearing out.

Making the most of our resources is important, I have been challenged this week by the amount of stuff we accumulate, I'd love to live a simpler lifestyle, it would be good for me, and for the environment I think...

With that in mind I bring you this Friday 5;

1. Are you a hoarder or a minimalist?

2. Name one important object ( could be an heirloom) that you will never part with.

3. What is the oldest item in your closet? Does it still fit???

4.Yard sales- love 'em or hate 'em ?

5. Name a recycling habit you really want to get into.

And for a bonus- well anything you want to add....

Even better, post a direct link to your blog entry in your comment using the following formulation: <a href="the url of your blog post goes here">what you want the link to say goes here</a>
For a complete how-to, click here.

When do you write your sermon?

Ask the Matriarchs!

A good question for this week- and one that, given the singular (and excellent) reply by our Matriarchs, a question most of us don't have a good answer for just yet.

Dear Matriarchs,
I hate spending all day every Saturday working on a sermon and liturgy for the next day, but I can't seem to find another sermon prep plan that works. Although I've been a minister for 10 years, I've only been a solo pastor for the past 2 years. As an Associate, I only preached once a month and had lots of time to prepare. Now, I start the week exhausted from the Saturday and Sunday before, can't get my head into the text much before Wednesday or Thursday, get the bulletin done by Friday noon, and spin my wheels all day Saturday. Non-Member Husband is getting resentful of our lost weekends, especially since this call is supposed to be 'part-time.'

Any suggestions? I'd even like to get ahead because I'm going to be doing some continuing ed on weekdays in October. But at this point, I can barely stay even.

From Karen:

I'm often doing sermon work on Saturday, so I'm not a good one to give advice on how to avoid this completely. However, I make it my goal to do enough sermon work during the week that Saturday is a matter of a few, (2-3) hours of finishing and tweaking rather than the whole thing. Then I try to tuck those hours into the early morning before everyone else is awake and/or after the kids' bedtime. (Not that this always works, mind you.) I'm also taking a good hard look at my own procrastination tendencies that prevent me from getting more of the sermon done before Saturday. When I'm completely honest with myself, I see that doing sermon stuff on Saturday is only about half due to urgent ministry tasks that took up my time on the weekdays--the other half is due to my own self-sabotaging choices. This may or may not apply to you.

That being said, the preaching schedule of a solo pastor can be exhausting. Even if you subtract the Sundays in four weeks of vacation and two weeks of study leave, you're looking at potentially 46 sermons a year. (And many small church pastors are tempted not to take all those Sundays off because of the difficulty finding and paying pulpit supply.) During my six and a half years as a solo, part-time pastor I employed various strategies to get breaks from weekly sermon prep even when I was not away on vacation or study leave.

1. Is there a retired or non-parish pastor anywhere near you who would preach for you a few times a year and see this as "service to the larger church" rather than as a paying gig? During my part-time, solo pastor years, a retired clergywoman offered to do this for me and it was a godsend. (Hint: if you are reading this and you are retired or non-parish clergy and you can afford occasionally to do pulpit supply without remuneration, PLEASE consider making this offer to a solo pastor near you!)

2. Offer to be a neutral pulpit for churches in your area who are interviewing candidates for pastoral positions. I think we only did this twice in the six years I was there, but still--it was a welcome break each time.

3. Preach someone else's sermons--with proper attribution, of course. Read one of MLK's sermons on MLK Sunday. Read excerpts from Luther/Calvin/Wesley's sermons on Reformation Sunday. Read a Revolutionary War era sermon on the Sunday closest to July 4. Etc. You don't want to make an every week habit of this, of course. But there are times when it is appropriate AND it gives you a break.

4. Have a once a year "Hymn Festival" Sunday where members submit favorite hymns in advance and the "sermon" part of worship is having several of these folks get up and say something about why a particular hymn means so much to them. Then sing the hymns! Likewise, on the Sunday closest to All Saint's Day, have the "sermon" be a few members sharing stories of departed saints of your church who were significant to their growth in faith.

5. Do a pulpit swap with a church nearby. (You can use one of your very best, already written sermons!) Employ a combination of these ideas to try to get a preaching break at least once a quarter in addition to your vacations/study leave. It gives you a breather that you can use to plan, read and work ahead so that every week isn't such a scramble. It also enables you to point to Saturdays on the calendar when your household could actually plan a day trip or other adventure.

What say you?

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Wednesday Festival--Mid Month

Wednesday rolls around again, and with it the Wednesday Festival. Here are the posts from the previous week nominated from around the webring.

Congratulations to Quaker Pastor on her 25th wedding anniversary-- a “silver time” indeed!

Katherine shares the joy of artistic papercutting.

There’s a great discussion going on at Reverendmother’s place about the power dynamics of sexual misconduct by the clergy. Join in here.

Lorna asks for your thoughts on some of the difficult ethical implications of stem cell research.

Sue at Inner Dorothy posted a lovely tribute to her late mother on what would have been her birthday.

It’s so hard to choose! Mirror, mirror on the wall, which are the ugliest shoes of them all? Go over to Deb’s place and vote!

Christine at Abbey of the Arts is preparing for autumn and received creative responses to her poetry prompt: Rumpled Sheets. Check them out here.
LutherLiz is pondering ways in which congregations can get to know her as a pastor and asks the RevGals “how do you share who you are with others?

Linda at Against A Brick Wall tells the story of the Preacher’s Jar of Words.

Sally (Eternal Echoes) shares reflections on a harvest festival
and thoughts on living.

Free Flying Spirit is searching for a Bible study for her group
and would like your suggestions.

And I got a little lagnaippe: Massage With Theology on the Side.

Don't be shy about nominating yourself, or those great posts that you're reading for next week’s festival. Email your nominations to Wednesday Festival using the link on the sidebar.. There's lots of great writing out there!

If you forgot to send in your nomination, please put it in the comments. Happy Wednesday everyone!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Lectionary Leanings: Home Office Edition




While others are jetting off to exciting lands, you can find me here this week at the home office. I am not preaching, but offer a link to the Lectionary texts for those who are.

Have fun!

Monday, September 17, 2007

Monday Meet n' Greet: Oops Edition

I am not quite sure why I had it on my calendar that there was no meet n' greet today but I believe I was mistaken. I think my days of meet n' greet are numbered.... nevertheless

WELCOME!!!

nanawandering: I've wandered my whole life .... and will now put some of these meanderings down for others to read. Thoughts from an ordained ELCA pastor on being a mother, being a Nana, and being a person of faith.

Telling Stories and Learning Faith: Just me, trying to find my place in God's world, with random musings and the occasional photo. Random musings and an attempt at journaling as a spiritual discipline as I try to figure out where I fit in God's story.

KnitnTeach: I lead a too-busy life! I teach 6th graders, I'm very active in a wonderful United Church of Christ (UCC) church, I've been married to the same great person since 1977, and I have 2 adult sons. When I'm not at school, I'm probably at church, or maybe at the gym. If I'm at home, I'm probably knitting!

Yearning for God: For several years, I felt that I was called to the ordained ministry in the United Methodist Church. However, politics and innumerable meetings with people who yammer discouraged me, as well as my tendency to be quiet. Moving back to the Episcopal Church of my young adulthood and going to the Shalem Institute have brought me to greater seeking of God in silence. I am now in the two year program at Shalem for spiritual guidance. I'm an eclectic Christian and almost have a master's degree in theology from the (Roman Catholic) Oblate School of Theology in San Antonio, TX. AND I like to hang clothes out on the clothesline!

Redhead Reverend: What goes on in the head of a redheaded woman minister?

Welcome one and all!

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Sunday Sacred Music Video - Praise My Soul, The King of Heaven

This is one of my favorite hymns and has a great descant at the end. We sang this today as our processional/entrance hymn. It's always nice when Youtube pulls through to have what you are looking for.

A performance of this famous hymn during the 3-choir festival, during an evensong, at St. Bavo in Haarlem (NL).

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There is still time to read Caroline Westerhoff's book Good Fences - The Boundaries of Hospitality, scheduled for discussion on Monday September 24, led by Songbird. And, while you are at it, if you have not read Barbara Kingsolver's Animal, Vegetable, Miracle , you can get a head start for October's read. Kingsolver's book is a bestseller and is readily available through Amazon or through your local bookseller, or check it out at the library! (I did and had it so long I had to return it and buy one for me! -- it's one of those that I want on my bookshelf.)

What did you sing in church today?

Sunday Prayer

Wondrous Creator, Source of Life and Goodness, hear our prayers this day. Hear the yearning that pours out of us with every beat of our hearts - a yearning to live in ever-deepening relationship with you - a yearning to bring your light and love into our world.

Thank you God for the beauty and majesty of this planet we share, and for the trust you place in us to care for it. Forgive us when we have fallen short of that responsibility, and build up our desire to preserve and care for all of creation.

We thank you for one another – for communities of faith in which the Spirit inspires creativity, laughter and a sense of shared ministry.

God of Compassion, we pray for all of your children in every corner of the world…
…for those who are hungry, fearful or dying because of HIV/AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis and the effects of polluted drinking water.
…for those who live in fear as war and oppression rob their lives of joy and freedom.
…for those who are grieving the loss of someone dear to them.
…for those whose best potentials cannot be reached because of poverty, addiction, abuse or social policies.
…for those who are ill or facing surgery or treatments.
…for children and teens who are growing up in an often confusing world.

God, may all of these, and all who suffer in body, mind or spirit find peace in your presence with them. May your Spirit bring comfort, healing and peace, for we ask it in Jesus’ name. And now we pray as he taught his friends to pray when they gathered together…

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Don't forget the Wednesday Festival: it's easy! Anyone can play!

All you have to do is click on the hyperlinked words: RevGal Wednesday Festival to create a mail message to the Festival team.

Nominations should be from your own blog or another RGBP ring member's. Please include a brief description of the post (a sentence is fine!) and the URL for the post, too!

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Extra! Extra! Big Event In the Works!

Those of you who are members of the RevGalBlogPal corporation should have received an e-mail a few moments ago with a request for you to vote in a straw poll on the Big Event location.

If you didn't receive it and you are a corp member, you may go to our Google group to review it (under "Pages.") If you are not able to get in, please e-mail our main address (revgalblogpals@gmail.com) and be sure to include your preferred e-mail address so that I may check my records and be sure I have you logged in correctly...and also
send it to you.

Then, back to the Preacher Party!

11th Hour Preacher Party: Is September Always Like This? Edition


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

No? Well, maybe you will find some inspiration here.

For those of us on the lectionary, there are ruined cities, multiple iniquities, hyssop-based purgings and recovered sheep and coins.

I am drawn to the gospel lesson, but we used the first half as a theme for Children's Sunday, just a few months ago, including a playlet featuring the children, with my dog, Molly, as the lost sheep. (If it might help, feel free to use it, just drop me an e-mail to let me know.)

Where are you in the process? How many distractions lie before you today? I find September to be full of them, every single year, and it still manages to surprise me.

More importantly, what do you take in your coffee?

Leave a comment and let's get the party started!

Friday, September 14, 2007

Friday Five: Meetings, Meetings


In honor of a couple of marathon meetings I attended this week:

1. What's your view of meetings? Choose one or more, or make up your own:
a) When they're good, they're good. I love the feeling of people working well together on a common goal.
b) I don't seek them out, but I recognize them as a necessary part of life.
c) The only good meeting is a canceled meeting.

2. Do you like some amount of community building or conversation, or are you all business?

3. How do you feel about leading meetings? Share any particular strengths or weaknesses you have in this area.

4. Have you ever participated in a virtual meeting? (conference call, IM, chat, etc.) What do you think of this format?

5. Share a story of a memorable meeting you attended.


Please let us know in comments if you play. Post a direct link to your blog entry in your comment using the following formulation:
<a href="the url of your blog post goes here">what you want the link to say goes here</a>
For a complete how-to, click here.


Image from despair.com, a wicked and funny site.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Boundaries. Hopes. Concerns. Ask the matriarch.

Today’s question is one that I have found particularly difficult- ambiguous- challenging (what is the right word?)

Where is the line between handling something responsibly and overreacting?
How do you balance being caring with avoiding unnecessary drama?

Thankfully, our matriarchs have some really good wisdom to share, and I hope that you will chime in, too-

Got a question yourself? askthematriarch@gmail.com


On to the question:

Hello,
We have an elderly (89) widowed gentleman in our congregation. He has made no secret of the fact that he would like to find a wife, and that he is interested in someone much younger than himself. Over the years since his wife's death, he has made a few flirtatious forays at some of the women in our very small congregation (usually when they are new), but nothing too serious. Until recently. He recently appeared in a new congregant's kitchen one morning! (Small town, we don't lock doors) And he was a bit testy when she asked him to leave. She is now afraid to come to church! Since he has never done anything quite like this before, we fear that this behavior may be indicative of some type of dementia on his part. We want to do the right thing by both of them. Any thoughts appreciated.

From Jan:
Dear Small-Town-Pastor-with-Scared-Parishioner,
It's possible that Widowed Gentleman might need practical tips on courting women in the 21st century ( showing up uninvited for breakfast is not cool.)

But more likely he is in need of a medical evaluation.
First question: Does he have any family nearby you can approach?
Second question: Is he looking for a wife b/c he is
a) lonely,
b) in need of a live-in nurse,
c) is among the lucky elderly with an active sex drive or
d) all the above?

I've seen this before when singles (of every age) stop participating in church life because someone else in the congregation is interested and they aren't and it's easier to find a new church or just stay home. Church is not a dating service though (although singles groups in mega-churches often serve that purpose). Church is a spiritual home where we should feel (and be) safe both with God and each other. (Yes, theologically speaking, God is hardly "safe" -- See Tolkien for references.) But our worship space is called a sanctuary for a reason.

Assuming there is no family close by, take an elder with you to visit Mr. Widower. Remind him that loneliness - especially after losing a spouse -- is terrible and the congregation wants to support and love him. But he must know that his pursuits are making other members uncomfortable.

If loneliness is his basic issue, are there others (men and/or women of any age) with whom he might hang out? One church in our area has a group of men who meet for breakfast every Saturday at the local diner: The ROMEOs (Retired Old Men Eating Out).

If he dislikes/even fears living alone (and he needs someone to take care of him) perhaps he needs a home health aid. Or maybe he can no longer live alone and he needs to move. Again - this is tricky without family support.

Also, supporting the woman is an obvious no-brainer. She deserves to worship (and live) in peace. Talk with her also, again with a sensitive elder, so she is sure that her church supports her and cares for her. She might want to lock her kitchen door. And sit with a friend in the pews.


From Karen:
I would definitely wonder if this was health related. Sometimes very small strokes can cause an uptick in impulsive behavior. Does this man have any relatives? Children? Nieces and Nephews? Before calling the police, I'd call someone from his family, if possible, to share these concerns. Especially if the relatives are not local, this would be important info to pass on. If no one has actually seen or talked to "Uncle Joe" in a few months, they might not be aware that all is not well. This might be a part of a pattern of erratic behavior for him and having this info might be the thing that finally spurs someone --a family member or other care giver--to take action.


From Singing Owl:
I have an aunt who is 91 and very frail, but her cognitive function is remarkable. Not everyone who is of advanced age gets dementia, but it is true that the great majority of individuals in their 80s and above will have at least the beginnings of Alzheimer's disease. I don't want to diagnose, but someone doing something highly inappropriate and then being angry when confronted are two large red flags that dementia may likely be present. Depending on your state, the system for dealing with elders varies. In some states (Wisconsin is one) every county has a county aging unit, often called the Department on Aging, and that is your first step in almost any issue. There may be something called an area agency on aging. Locate whoever deals with elder issues in your area and ask their advice. The Alzheimer's Association people are everywhere, are usually excellent, and they will probably be more than willing to talk with you and give some valuable direction.

Is there family? If so, they may be concerned but not know what to do, or they may be unaware. Does he live with someone? Often the people closest to an individual with dementia are actually the last to realize that something is wrong because they have lived with the gradual change for some time.

My impression is that your elderly Casanova lives alone, there will be other issues- food issues, sanitation, finances etc. Someone needs to check. I hope he has kids who love him. I'm concerned for his safety. As for your new church lady, you can at least tell her that you are taking what steps you can to deal with this kindly. Calling the police certainly might be necessary if he gets aggressive (which is possible) but is not the best option, and I hope you can deal with it another way before things escalate. Of course, if it is necessary, do it. However, I'm thinking of an elderly gentleman who was found "exposing himself" (turned out he was just getting ready to pee in a corner, also not a good thing) and the poor man spent a night in jail after being arrested. Not all police departments would have done this, thank God. But if you can get appropriate people involved soon it may be possible to avoid difficult confrontations and get him the help he probably needs.


From Abi:
The woman has the right to call the police on this guy even if it is dementia. And you need to call the man's family too. And if no family, perhaps protective services. I can only imagine how that woman feels. You say it was harmless, but you are going by what was told you, but what was not told you? Are there some members of the church that are his friend, that can steer him into the direction he needs to go for help, or know his family?

This cannot be delayed. Church is not a place for flirting indiscriminately for a wife, like that. Now I know people have found their spouses in church and that singles group is often a place to get dates. But what this guy has been doing is not a Christian witness nor safe. We aren't made to be "Pastor Match Makers" either. Sometimes we have to do the hard thing to be clear with people what church is for, and what it is not for. Church is to be a safe place, a sanctuary, and not a place to be hit on, or worry if someone is going to show up our house to hit on us.

At the same time, when a person does become widowed or experiences a major change in life, they are like to do things they would not normally do. Or may need help as there are other issues going on perhaps medical, social, emotional, or mental. If you notice a change in behavior attitude, etc. then address it sooner not later.




What do you think?

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Wednesday Festival, September 12

Dear Readers,

Here's this week's festival -- and what a diverse group of posts we have to read!

Tripp posted on the 9-11 anniversary. My guess is that many folks posted (or will post) on this event. If you'd like to leave a link in the comments, please do; or send in the nomination for next week.

Pastor Scott even got a response from the acolyte with this sermon! I don't know what else we could say that would top that, but head on over and leave a comment!

Just Jill had the experience of walking with the 35th woman to be ordained in the Lutheran Church as she moved toward an early and tragic death from Ovarian Cancer. Read about here and check around the previous posts for more on that holy journey, as well as new life sort of posts afterward.

Earthchick's sons receive a happy wish and some practical advice as they start preschool from a mentally ill homeless man. And check out the cute totes that she fashioned for them, too!

Sally shares a story of God’s faithfulness to them in many parts; here's the latest.

Leah Sophia shares first about borders and gates here and then a and a graphic expression of Romans 6:4 here.

Hedwyg writes about - about depression, how it affects us, and what this means.

You are invited to come play at the Poetry Party over at Abbey of the Arts. An image is posted waiting for your words of illumination. Plus one contributor will win a small gift!

Tandaina over at Snow on Roses has been doing some theologizing on God's will and prayer that are definitely worth the read. Part one is here and part two is here.

Check out this royal proclamation by Princess Mindy! Oh and her side-kick Rach provides this comment: "In a bit of a role reversal, the local funeral home sent flowers to my dad." Pray for her dad here .

Stop by and say hi to Lorna, too -- and sometimes the comments are as delightful to read as the post!

Mitch and his wife view the changing of seasons very differently. Even now he dreads the pre-Thanksgiving store displays of Christmas decorations... He shares his thoughts of Opposites Attract, or I Want Summer Back.

As always -- don't be shy about nominating yourself, or those great posts that I know you're reading. There's lots of great writing out there! Forget to send us the notice? Let folks know what you're writing about in the comments.

Enjoy.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Tuesday Lectionary Leanings: early morning edition

Friends,

In the past few weeks I've been letting the TLL slide until the afternoon. But not today! Today I'm up and at 'em early, so here goes.

When I took a peek at the lectionary passages briefly a month or so ago in order to plan the worship calendar for the newsletter, I took a look at 1Timothy and thought of what I then thought was the best sermon title ever: Transformers--Christians in Disguise. (I love it when I can torture a movie or song title for my own amusement!) Of course, things happen in a month, and I'm not so sure of using that anymore. But hey, if any of you can use it, feel free!

I remember six years ago, when it was the first Sunday after 9/11. I had just ended my internship the week before in a wonderful and touching litany. I was actually considering taking the Sunday "off" from church and sleeping in. But of course, by Tuesday of that week I knew I could not. I found myself sliding into a very crowded pew, in a very crowded church, wondering what the preacher would have to say. I knew the preacher very well--I had shared a chancel with him for 15 months--but still I did not know what the Word that day would be.

The text that day was Jeremiah 4. Spooky. With its birdless cities lying in ruins, its trembling mountains and shaking hills, its mourning. And yet the Word that day was hope, the great "yet" of 4:27:

For thus says the LORD: The whole land shall be a desolation; yet I will not make a full end.

It's been a tough couple of weeks at my little country church. I think we could all use a little hope.

What about you?

Monday, September 10, 2007

Musical Musings - Kerouac or Nelson? Edition

OK- the title might be a little obtuse, but let's just say this edition of Musical Musing is On the Road (again?)...

Did you know that of all the metaphors and analogies used to describe life - across time and cultures - the one that seems darn near universal is a journey? It totally makes sense, of course, knowing that the nomadic life can be accounted for everywhere humans have established a foothold. Heck, even the penguins migrate!

If I'm right (and I sometimes am), you've wandered a bit farther down your own road since the last musical musings. This month has been a really journey for me, in every aspect of my life. I travelled to Iowa and Wisconsin, where I began my seminary journey with 14 of the most incredible men and women I've ever met. I've wandered back to the beginnings of our world with new eyes, learning to read our story in new ways. I've stumbled into a new version of the race against time, shuttling my son to activities with textbooks and highlighters in the car. I've found myself sitting with a future preacher's kid who wants to learn my Greek vocabulary!

Even as I sit at the same desk in the same house that I have typed at for the past three years, I know I'm not where I was three years ago. Some twists in my road have been exciting, others exhausting; some turns have brought joy and around others I've found grief and pain. But still I go forward, pressing on.

So, my co-journers in life, here's a short and varied Road Trip Mix of songs God has laid on my heart (and/or Freud has dropped into my iTunes) for this leg of my journey:

1. Obviously... On the Road Again by our muse Willie Nelson (Honeysuckle Rose Soundtrack, 1980)

While I'm not a big fan of Willie's nasal stylings, I have to say that every time I start a long drive, it comes into my head.. and like any good earworm, it stays a good long while..

Like a band of gypsies we roll down the highway...
we're the best of friends, insisting that the world keep turning our way,
and our way... is on the road again!

2. Show Me the Way... by Styx (Edge of the Century, 1990)

Yep, my hubby actually took me to see Dennis DeYoung perform this Spring. This one still gets me as I think about how hard it is for us to find our way - how many people are out there crying out for someone to show (and tell) them where the Truth is.

Every night I say a prayer in the hope that there's a heaven
And every day I'm more confused as the saints turn into sinners
All the heroes and legends I knew as a child have fallen to idols of clay
And I feel this empty place inside, so afraid that Ive lost my faith

Show me the way, show me the way
Take me tonight to the river
And wash my illusions away
Show me the way...

3. Untitled Hymn (Come to Jesus) by Chris Rice (Run the Earth, Watch the Sky, 2003)

This is possibly the most beautiful description of the journey of faith I've ever heard. Starting with an invitation for the weak and wounded sinner to come, through the crawling, walking, crying, and dancing we live through as we grow in faith, then finally going home to be with God.

... And with your final heartbeat, Kiss the world goodbye,
Then go in peace, and laugh on Glory's side...
and Fly to Jesus, Fly to Jesus, Fly to Jesus and live

I cry every time I sing along with Chris and think of the home-goings my loved ones experienced.

4. Mountain of God by Third Day (Wherever You Are, 2005)

Mac Powell and company are serious worship leaders in the guise of a southern rock band. Soulful and powerful. This is a great reminder of how our journey takes those twists and turns so that we can grow in our trust in God's strength and faithfulness. The chorus says it all:

Even though the journey's long, and I know the road is hard.
Well the one who's gone before me, He will help me carry on.
And after all that I've been through, now I realize the truth
that I must go through the valley to stand upon the Mountain of God.

5. Jesus Draw Me Ever Nearer by Keith Getty and Margaret Becker (In Christ Alone, 2006 or New Irish Hymns 2001)

If you're familiar with the Getty's music, you know the modern yet ancient feel he achieves in his hymns. This one has a haunting Celtic feel that is the prayer of one on the journey who realizes that the journey both brings and becomes a blessing in itself.

May this journey be a blessing, May I rise on wings of faith
And at the end of my heart's testing, With Your likeness let me wake

6. I'm Not Who I Was by Brandon Heath (Don't Get Comfortable, 2006)

This one is about a relationship that was broken, and the speaker realized when looking at an old photo that the pain is no longer about being hurt, it's about not forgiving the other person. A great snapshot of the way that our journeys really do change us.

Well the thing I find most amazing, In amazing grace
Is the chance to give it out
Maybe that's what love is all about
I wish you could see me now
I wish I could show you how... I'm not who I was

7. This Road by Jars of Clay (Furthermore: From the Studio, From the Stage 2003)

This was the closer on the initial City on a Hill project CD. I think it'll make a fine benediction for this round of musings, too.

All heavy laden acquainted with sorrow
May Christ in our marrow carry us home
From alabaster come blessings of laughter
A fragrance of passion and joy from the truth

Grant the unbroken tears ever flowing
From hearts of contrition only for You
May sin never hold true that love never broke through
For God's mercy holds us and we are His own

This road that we travel may it be the straight and narrow
God, give us peace and grace from You, all the day
Shelter with fire, our voices we raise still higher
God, give us peace and grace from You, all the day through

My iPod'll hold several hours more, so please share your comments and suggestions for more journey songs (no, not Journey songs, although they do complement Styx..

What songs have become a part of your journey? What a great playlist we could come up with together...

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Sunday Sacred Music Video - Lord of All Hopefulness





It’s early in the morning and everyone here is asleep, except for me and the cat. The air is still, the sound of the cicadas is soft – it’s a very gentle morning. I presided at morning prayer a couple of days this week, and looking for a hymn, pulled Jan Struther’s Lord of All Hopefulness. When I walked outside to pray this morning, the words came floating back. The tune is traditional Irish, the words just right for such a morning as this one:

Lord of all gentleness, Lord of all calm, Whose voice is contentment, who presence is balm…

Be there with us, Lord, and give us your peace in our hearts the rest of this day!

Sunday Prayer

God of Creation, God of Wonder, hear this offering of prayer and praise as a gift from our thankful hearts. We thank you for the wonders all around us. For grains of sand, the smell of rain falling on dry ground, for the shifting of the seasons and the sound of laughter. We thank you God for one another – for the joys and struggles of relationships that nurture us and help us to grow.

God, we thank you for your eternal presence in our midst and for the good news of your deep abiding love for all of creation.

Even as we give thanks, we lift up the concerns that burden us this day. We ask your peace and blessing on all those we have named in this place today and all whose names and circumstances remain in the safe sanctuary of your Spirit’s care.

We pray for all who are suffering in body, mind or spirit and for all who provide care for the needs of others. We pray for the lonely and the despairing…for those who struggle with addiction…for those who feel trapped in situations of abuse…for those who making difficult decisions in life…

God we pray for your church and its mission in the world. We pray for the United Church of Canada, and especially for our Moderator David Giuliano as he recovers from his radiation treatments.

Bless all of your children God, and pour your Spirit upon us, bringing healing, comfort and strength wherever it is needed. All this we ask in the name of the One who calls us forward in faith, Jesus…who taught us to pray singing…

Amen.
************************************************************************************

Don't forget the Wednesday Festival: it's easy! Anyone can play!

All you have to do is click on the hyperlinked words: RevGal Wednesday Festival to create a mail message to the Festival team.

Nominations should be from your own blog or another RGBP ring member's. Please include a brief description of the post (a sentence is fine!) and the URL for the post, too!

Saturday, September 08, 2007

11th Hour Preacher Party - Barely Holding It Together Edition

Every time I think I've already been as busy as I can possibly be, I am proven wrong.

On my usual hosting weeks, I write this post in the wee hours of Friday night/Saturday morning because I know I'll sleep later than some of you, and wouldn't want you to arrive to an empty table here. Tonight I am doing so because I have to be at church in fewer than 8 hours to do a funeral, which will be followed by a wedding, after which I will return to write a brilliant (ha!) sermon about a text I read on Tuesday and haven't thought about since, and get ready for our Sunday School kick-off. Whoooeeee!

And then I think, some of you do this sort of thing and also have families. I am impressed.

Anyway, thanks to my parents, I now have a fancy-schmancy programmable coffee pot/carafe thingy and plenty of French roast, and it'll be brewing overtime all day. I also have a platter of pastries passed on by the bereaved. So, dig in, find a comfortable seat, and join in the idea-sharing, venting, groaning, rejoicing, etc. Party on, preaching pals!

Friday, September 07, 2007

Friday 5 - on overcoming



I am preparing this Friday 5 just before I take Chris into hospital for a cardioversion, right now we are all a little apprehensive. But this whole thing has got me thinking, so many of us are overcomers in one way or anoither, so many have amazing stories to tell of God's faithfulness in adversity. And so I bring you this Friday 5;




1.Have you experienced God's faithfulness at a difficult time? Tell as much or as little as you like...


2. Have you experienced a dark night of the soul, if so what brought you through?


3. Share a Bible verse, song, poem that has brought you comfort?


4. Is "why suffering" a valid question?


5. And on a lighter note- you have reached the end of a dark and difficult time- how are you going to celebrate?


Bonus- anything you wish to add....


Sorry if this has been a little heavy I will try to lighten up soon!!!


Let us know in comments if you play and we'll trek on over.

Even better, post a direct link to your blog entry in your comment using the following formulation: <a href="the url of your blog post goes here">what you want the link to say goes here</a>
For a complete how-to, click here.

Edited to add:
THANK YOU ALL FOR YOUR THOUGHTS AND PRAYERS! THIS IS AN AMAZING GROUP.
Chris came home this evening, we will go back on Monday, more news over at my blog

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

New Youth Group- Ask the Matriarch

Greetings to you! I hope that this finds you well. In the weeks ahead we have questions about boundaries and sermons. Do you have a question? E-mail it to askthematriarch@gmail.com.



On to this week's question.



I just received a call this morning that my youth group leader (lay volunteer) needs to resign to devote more attention to other areas of her life. I can thoroughly understand and sympathize with her, as she's been the leader now for about 10 years, is a teacher in the local school, and has two teens and one in college.

I'm in a small four-point rural parish; our youth numbers are small, and cover three school districts. This past year we had a good, active group--doing something about once a month--but it sort of fell apart as the end of the school year approached. We have good participation amongst our junior high/confirmation age group (a total of 10 youth), but only two high-schoolers attend with any regularity (out of about 14 potential folk). What's a relatively new pastor to do? I've been here just over a year, and one of the key areas of my call is youth work (the others are visitation with the elderly and homebound and worship leadership). I'm already spread pretty thin, so I don't want to mess this up for lack of time and energy. I did think about restructuring and forming a parent/youth board to oversee and make decisions and implement programming, but I don't know....



From PPB:
Wow. You do have your hands full. I think a parent-youth board is a great idea. I also think that it's important for you (as well as the parents/judicatory members) to be realistic about what is feasible in your particular setting.



First, youth ministry is a ministry, not a club. So if you are ministering to the kids---getting to know them, going to the occasional school play or basketball game--THAT is ministry. Plugging them into the broader life of the church is important---serving as readers and liturgists, taking their turn in the nursery, participating in committees, etc. ---that's all key to reminding them that they are both valued and respected.



It may be that you need to re imagine youth "group" for your church(es) and area(s). Can you do an ecumenical youth group in one or more of your churches--team up with the Lutherans or Presbyterians for monthly events? Can you let yourself off the hook for monthly stuff and instead plan quarterly events that are "bigger"--retreats, mission weekends, lock-ins? If you're feeling stressed and pulled in many directions, the kids probably are, too. Just because they go to smaller schools doesn't mean they are less pulled than kids in suburbia are (when there are only 250 kids in a high school, imagine the pressure to be in a sport or play or choir---just to get the minimum bodies needed to pull something off).



I think one thing that the church can model in such a setting is that more isn't necessarily better, and quality and particularity matter.


From Singing Owl:
I sympathize. I’m also in a small parish and my youth leaders are lay people. It is a challenge! I’m pondering the implications that one of the key areas of your call is youth work. Not everyone can say this! If that is the case, are there other areas of church work that you can delegate to lay people so that you can focus more on this area of gifting? I once told our deacon board that if I had no one to disciple the children and youth that I would turn the Sunday morning service into a youth service. They were a bit shocked, but I was trying to make the point that youth should be a major priority. If the church loses the younger ones, the church dies, and I had already been in one church where that happened. Visiting the elderly is not unimportant, but they likely have a more formed faith (we hope) than the youth.

I like your idea of forming a parent-youth board. Perhaps that would help them take some ownership. How about meeting over pizza with as many of the older teens as possible and brainstorming—finding out why they don’t come, what would encourage that to change, and so on. Get them talking, and I expect they will tell you the truth. One other thought—are those two older teens people who could help with the younger ones? That sometimes works well and sometimes is a disaster, depending on the kids. Are there any 20-somethings that could help as well?

And from Abi:
Dear Spread too thin...I am not sure what you mean about your "call" includes the youth work? Are you saying that is one of your responsibilities along with the other areas as assigned? I think given you got three school districts, four churches, two sets of age groups, that's a task unto itself. Sounds like juggling balls. It sounds like it calls for a Superwoman. Your idea of a parent/youth board to oversee and make decisions and implement programming sounds like a good start. Talk to the present youth group leader, get her ideas, thoughts of what might need to be done and what kind of leader it needs. Talk to the youth themselves. If you have a nominating committee that selects persons to be the leaders, Utilize them. If your council or board has a say, get them involved. This in some ways goes back to last week's question and answer, that our job is to equip the laity, and if we are doing all the work, we are not equipping the laity. So that even if one of the key areas of your call is youth work, you are to be equipping those working with the youth.



My own thoughts? It’s been a while since I’ve been in that position, but I remember really being challenged and excited by a book called Family-Based Youth Ministry: Reaching the Been-There, Done-That Generation by Mark Devries.



Anyone else have texts or ideas that help present a new paradigm that might be helpful?



Happy commenting!



Listing Straight

Wednesday Festival: The Times, They are A'Changin'

Change! It's the watchword right now, isn't it!? Schools starting, weather changing, new calls, new program years, Sunday School gearing up, kids moving out, back in...

Gord shares a newspaper column he wrote about the mathematics of change.

Sue made some final changes to her tattoo! You can see the finished product over at her place. Gorgeous! (August 30 post...can't get a permalink...and while you are there, read the other 8/30 post on her anniversary. Just BEAUTIFUL.)

Songbird is changing in some very impressive ways!

Some particular catz turned two and that was an exciting change!!

Karla Jean says, "It's not profound, or literary, or life-altering, but jumping into the program year I was tempted, as we all are in ministry, to get swallowed.
After 7 years of ordained ministry, and twenty-two years in professional ministry, I remembered that I need to love myself! (and my dog ;-)
AND, all the people and the dogs said, Amen!


Amy says, "One of the members of our worship planning team painted 4 beautiful paintings as part of an assignment to tell the Gospel Story in her own voice. She has graciously allowed me to post them on my blog. They are so beautiful that I want to share them with all the other RevGals." You may see them here.

Molly's mom has had an important birthday, and Molly shares some of the important lessons learned from her.

Talk about changes...my word. Net at Grace Happens left us a message on her way out of town to please pray for and blog-visit Bad Alice and her family; they are dealing with so much and could use our love and prayer support.

How to find a PH (Pastor's Husband), plus some tips on how to use Google, and how that's related to picking watermelons. Don't you just love reading Mitch?

Tripp's got a good Sunday sermon to share: The Ladies Who Lunch. And don't miss Shawna's poem, or the poetry over at Abbey of the Arts!

Sally is thinking about inter-active prayer and preaching and counting the cost of discipleship.

PamBG is meditating on what is a Methodist Evangelical? and continues with Methodists and Conversion.

Did you forget to nominate? Just write something amazing? Just need to connect? Shout it out in the comments!

Wishing you all Wednesday's best blessings!

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Tuesday Lectionary Leanings: summer's over edition

Hi friends,

It's back to the routine now, isn't it? Sunday School resumes this week at the church I serve, many congregations will be starting up the program year, and for many of us that means bigger crowds in worship. Time to really bring the preaching A-game right?

That last question was facetious. I know that each and every one of us brings the A-game every week!

This week's lectionary passages feature a text I have never preached--Philemon. I am intrigued by this story of restoration and of redemption. What word of grace might this letter be for our congregations?

Or maybe you are going with the Potters wheel, the promises of Deuteronomy, or that heavy cross to carry. What are you pondering this week?

Monday, September 03, 2007

Monday Meet n' Greet - September 3, 2007

WELCOME!!!


Tidings of Comfort and Joy by Rev Sharon, "peacemaker, blessed pastor, empty nester, life explorer, spirit coach, kitchen witch, garden elf, quilter, writer, daydream believer." Her latest posts include some fun quizzes. Are you Dumbledore or a cultural creative? Not sure... go look!

MitchRoss.com: Pastor's Husband, Geek Dad. Great insights and fun reflections from the other side of the female pulpit. (Why does that sound gross? I didn't mean it to)

Southwest Parish: almost daily musings of pastor of 5 church parish in Southwest Oklahoma. PCUSA I've been a minister since 1978. In serving the parish the last 7 years I've driven 200,000 miles. "Rev. Dr. Bobbie McGarey - Presbyterian Minister PCUSA since 1978. Currently serving five congregations in Southwest Oklahoma."
That's right... five.

Telling Stories and Learning Faith: Random Musings and an attempt at journaling as a spiritual discipline as i try to figure out where I fit in God's story. Revanne is a United Methodist pastor married to a UM pastor. In her own words, "I am a more-or-less faithful Christian trying to work out for myself and my family where our lives are leading us. I have a dog and a cat who are the boss of me, but they are slow to share their plans for me (beyond "feed me" and "pet me"). I am an associate pastor in a good-sized church--a new move for me; I've been the only pastor in the churches I've served before now. I am interested in how we communicate and share faith, specifically Christian faith and the UM variety, and how we grow faith communities."

God-parenting: A blog for people who want to be involved with the spiritual lives of children, whether as parents, grandparents, friends, or actual godparents. From momma helen, "Blogging about my life as a parent and priest. Sometimes it's about things that might help others. Sometimes it's about things that have helped me. Always it's about growing closer to God."

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Sunday Afternoon Musicale



Enjoy.

Sunday Prayer

For several years now, I've had the same pre-worship ritual. I close the door to my office and put on my alb and my stole and I pray.

I pray that the preparation I have done for this time of prayer and praise has been good and honourable. I pray that the Spirit will pick up the pieces where I have failed to bring my "A" game. I assure God that I know the Spirit has my back and that I trust in her presence with us all through this time of worship.

Then I use the words of Edwards Hays, saying, "Gracious God, may this act of holiness I am about to perform bring forth from within me more and more personal holiness."

Three deep cleansing breaths, an "Amen", and I'm out the door.

May you and yours be blessed this day.

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Don't forget the Wednesday Festival: it's easy! Anyone can play!

All you have to do is click on the hyperlinked words: RevGal Wednesday Festival to create a mail message to the Festival team.

Nominations should be from your own blog or another RGBP ring member's. Please include a brief description of the post (a sentence is fine!) and the URL for the post, too!

Saturday, September 01, 2007

11th Hour Preacher Party: Come to the Banquet

Welcome, welcome, 11th hour preachers!

The table is laid, my friends, and you are welcome. Coffee is brewing, and the teakettle will soon be whistling.

Does a busy day lie ahead of you? Come and gather yourself for the fray.

Are you almost finished with your sermon? Stop a moment and encourage others.

Wondering what to tell the children? Ask if anyone has a great idea!

The party starts NOW!!