What a wonderfully worship-full Sunday we will have! Please join us as June 3 marks our entry into not only summer, but our long green liturgical season of Ordinary Time, where we linger over the stories that shape our faith journeys.
June 3 is also the first Sunday of the month, thus we gather together around God’s Table where all are invited to celebrate Holy Communion. Having also just prepared and served dinner last Tuesday evening for our friends at Urban Ministries, this Sunday marks Penny Sunday where we collect loose (and not so loose) change to continue this powerful witness and ministry. Mark your calendars for Tuesday, July 31 as it is our next date to offer the gift of table fellowship for our neighbors in need. As vacation and travel plans of our meal coordinator and lead chef impact that date, we will need as many new and returning Pilgrims to volunteer to make this meal possible.
Immediately after worship, a congregational meeting has been called for Pilgrim to discern how best we might be called to be stewards of God’s creation in our small corner of the world. Pilgrim Trustees have invited and recommended us to consider the installation of solar panels to lessen Pilgrim’s carbon footprint. Please plan to stay for this important conversation and vote.
And if Sunday’s worshipful work could not get more exciting, at 3pm, we will join with the Eastern North Carolina Association of the United Church of Christ to surround Sarah Horton Campbell as she begins her journey of ordained ministry. As Ordination is a covenant of the church and minister, please be part of this important Pilgrim witness.
What an overflowing week of promise and joy! Monday and Tuesday, I had the privilege of participating in supervisor training for our Duke Divinity School Intern, Kayla Keller. Kayla comes to us out of the Lutheran tradition (ELCA) where she is preparing for ordination as a minister of Word and Sacrament. She will join us May 27 for a 10 week journey of learning and discovery. The possibility of how might God use her, and us, is brimming with hope and expectation. And thus, we have work to do to receive her with God’s grace and hospitality. Not only will I walk alongside Kayla this summer helping her stretch and grow, but so to will you. Our relationship will be grounded by a learning/serving covenant which we will birth together. The congregation will also be represented by a lay mentoring team, who will help shape Kayla’s pastoral identity and voice. Duke Divinity School is overjoyed to have Pilgrim back as a supervisory site. Let us prepare to welcome Kayla into our embrace!
This week, we have also been invited to consider receiving items from O’Kelly Chapel, which for those of you who attended “Soup and Stories,” remember is our foundational location. There has been prayer and discussion around what items we might receive, and truly use, that will honor our history and heritage, and not become more “stuff” that collects dust, neglected somewhere on our campus. To open us to our visual history, we have rearranged the chancel somewhat to bring attention to our existing historic items that come from Pilgrim’s downtown era. As you center yourself in worship, pray with these visuals to see if they draw connection or distract from the beautifully long arc of being Pilgrim.
Finally, when you look around the sanctuary are there people you do not know? Faces you do not recognize as fellow members or first time visitors? Do you spend fellowship time with folks whom are not part of your posse? We think saying yes to any or all of these questions happens to many Pilgrims, and we want to do something about that! Katie McCarthy and Pastor Lindy are stealing a page from Katie’s company to organize “Randomized Coffee Trial (RCT).” What’s that? Well, if you are willing, and sign up, we will match-make you with a fellow Pilgrim whom we suspect you do not know (or know well) for randomized coffee. We will supply name and contact info, and leave the two of you to set a place and time. Our hope is to have three such “coffees” for all who participate throughout the summer (June, July, August), believing such one-on-one connection will help Pilgrim cross pollinate and maybe just catch a glimpse of seeing each other as God sees us. You game? We hope so. More to come…..
In a conversation with a trusted friend yesterday, with whom I had not spoken to over this past month, I caught him up on my journey and he checked in on the state of my mental health with my grieving. As he journeys with mental illness, I am mindful that I walk with so many others who suffer accordingly.
May is Mental Health Month and Pilgrim’s Young Adult group invites us to move through this month making ourselves more intentionally aware of mental health issue. There are a number of resource s and opportunities to help educate and train us to walk alongside, and care for, those who journey with mental illness. We will have green prayer cards for those who would like to lift prayers for individuals and families who struggle with mental illness. We are also imagining other ways to invite us to learn more. Stay tuned!
There are two opportunities for training, May 16 & 17, to help individuals develop skills to help someone who is developing or experiencing mental health problems and/or crisis. See the bulletin for specific details.
My prayer is that in engaging on this important subject, Pilgrim truly lives into the UCC motto of “whoever you are, and wherever you find yourself on life’s journey, you are welcome here.”
I have felt out of rhythm since I’ve been back in Durham as I attempt to prepare for Sunday, knowing that we leave tomorrow to take the very sad step of learning how to move forward as a family without my father, after thanking God for the gift of him in our lives. A foot in each world, a heart divided.
My daughter flew in this morning. Beautiful, yet bittersweet, to spend this day with her, as we had been scheduled to drive over to Flat Rock last Saturday so she could share her love and say good-bye to her grandfather. Her wedding in six months now feels different, harder even, as it was her grandparents that pleaded with her to mark the day more traditionally than she had imagined. We have shed a few tears, I am glad we have had this moment together.
Please know how deeply Lanny and I have felt your love and care this past week, and I am grateful to be surrounded by a community that cares so well. I will wrap myself in your prayers, like the shawls we gift, as we move through the next few days.
Our journey through this season invites us to sit with deep questions about our life and faith. Last week’s gospel text focused on the Lenten question “What does it mean to be a disciple of Jesus?”
Tomorrow’s text asks us “What does it mean to be the church of Jesus?” A challenging question, to be sure. Our midweek series is arguably on a parallel path as we explore the history of Pilgrim’s “becoming” which will invariably lead us to a conversation about what we are becoming here and now.
So let us let God’s good news move in us to begin forming our answer as we gather for worship tomorrow. See you then!
Join us this Sunday, Feb 25, as we reflect on Jesus’ words, the black liberation theology of James Cone, and the poetry of Mary Oliver — as we consider the cross that hangs in our sanctuary and how we carry crosses of many kinds…
One of the goals of forming deacon care groups is to provide opportunities for Pilgrims to get to know one another better and strengthen community.
Sarah Horton-Campbell (member in discernment, agricultural guru, and yoga instructor extraordinaire) has offered to lead us in a yoga meditation in Fellowship Hall.
Here are a few notes:
Your entire Pilgrim staff thanks you for your generosity with our Christmas gifts. Time and again, you show us how deeply valued we are in our shared ministry. With you and for you, we each do our small part to help Pilgrim radiate God’s light and love through our shared mission and ministry–we are church together.
We are grateful for the many ways you care for us–stopping by; phone calls, notes, emails, texts; delicious cookies…and now this wonderful act of love. Thank you. We will always be the first to sing your praises of what an amazing congregation you are–and we are glad to be a part of it!
Seems like the question for this moment. What is this? We Christians proclaim a Gospel that stands up to supposed authorities. A Gospel that challenges assumed power. A Gospel that rips apart barriers and borders that separate us from God or separate others from God. A Gospel that tears down walls. A Gospel where the dead don’t stay dead. No wonder the world crucified the Gospel.
I’m not sure where Mandy is going Sunday with this text but I wonder when we hear a new teaching, what is our response? When we hear of someone’s testimony of God, which might be different than ours, what is our response? When we hear a challenge to our theology, our denominational loyalty, what is our response?
Are our ears open, eager to experience something new? Do we hope for a different revelation? Do we stand behind our commitment to innovation, to change? Or, do we retreat into the way its always been done?
Pilgrim, we have our own “what is this?” moment before us. Sunday, February 4, immediately after worship, we will gather to learn of Pilgrim’s new way forward for 2018 through the presentation of our 2018 budget. As we discern how God hopes to use us this year in ministry, we are being asked if the budget concretely interprets our mission priorities as church.
We are church together and I pray you offer your voice to these important deliberations.