After 18 months of work by the Transition Team and the Search Committee, we have received the recommendation of a new senior pastor. On Saturday, June 24, from 3:00-5:00 pm in Fellowship Hall the candidate and spouse will be introduced to the congregation. We will see biographical information on the candidate at that time. The following morning, on Sunday June 25 at 10:30 am, the candidate will participate in worship and give the sermon. Following worship, a congregational meeting will consider and vote on the candidate.
In January, 50 Pilgrims gathered to assess our individual and communal assets, and form working groups to tackle the pressing issues of this moment. We continue hearing updates from our groups on the last Sunday of each month after worship. If you are interested in joining any of these groups, here are the people to contact:
- Immigrant Rights — Julie Frybarger and Ingrid Ambrose
- Healthcare Access — ask at church office
- Climate Change & Environmental Protections — Rob Wildermann
- Education — ask at church office
- Violence Against People of Color — Susan Barco
- LGBT Rights — Derek J. Coulson
- Muslim Rights / Islamophobia — Marilyn Christian
The church office can help you with the contact information for these people if you need it.
Pilgrim United Church of Christ invites you to experience our labyrinth. For thousands of years, human beings have created spiral paths that fold back on themselves. With its eleven switchbacks, our labyrinth resembles the world-famous one located in the nave of the Cathedral in Chartres, France. Originally constructed in about 1220, its twists and turns symbolized the difficulties pilgrims experienced as they traveled away from home seeking God. Today, they symbolize the challenges we all experience in trying to become closer to God, however known.
The labyrinth consists of a single path. There are no dead-ends, here or in life. Walking it provides a time for prayer or meditation. St. Augustine said, “salvator ambulado” or “it is solved by walking.” The phrase constitutes a metaphor for the lived life, each step suggesting unexpected turns leading to unknown destinations. To walk the labyrinth requires concentration as one makes deliberate and careful moves. In so doing, the mind becomes clearer and open to the spirit of God.
Auxiliary will meet on May 8 at 10:30 am. Millie Myers and Roman Testroet will do both the Devotional and Program. Pastor Mandy Mizelle Norris will install officers for next year, which begins in September 2017 and ends in May 2018. Lunch will be potluck. We do not meet in June, July and August. Officers and Ser-vice Committee members will meet in the interim to plan next year’s programs.
~ Patricia Gibson, President
Adult Sunday School Schedule
Join us over the next two Sundays, May 7th and 14th, as we discuss each week’s gospel passage and continue contemplating the meaning of Easter.
On May 21st, our ministerial intern, Kyle Kentopp, will share research from his senior thesis, “Made in God’s Image: A Look into Current and Biblical Christian Perceptions of the Transgender Experience,” inviting questions and conversation. All are invited!
We meet at 9:30 am in the Community Room.
The Search Committee continues to meet regularly to discern the call for our next Senior Pastor. They have invited three candidates for in-person visits in May. Each one will preach at a local congregation, fellowship with the committee, and visit Pilgrim’s campus. After these visits and a discernment period, they anticipate calling one of these individuals to serve at Pilgrim. The congregation will be given two weeks notice before the date when the recommended candidate will preach and lead worship followed by a congregational meeting to consider the candidate. They anticipate this happening in June.
We’ve got indoor jobs and outdoor jobs, weed-ing, raking, painting, cleaning and more! All skill levels welcome (on the job training provid-ed!). Snacks, fellowship, and that good feeling from a job well done all included.
Please let Ami Nagle know if you plan to join in on the fun so we can have the supplies ready and jobs organized.
by Mandy Mizelle Norris, Associate Pastor
This past Sunday, we contemplated the story of the two travelers on their way to Emmaus that first Easter day. Two of Jesus’ followers who meet and walk with him, presumably for miles, listening to him recount scripture from Moses through all the prophets… and yet call him “Stranger.”
Maybe they were overcome by the events of the past few days, from the Passover celebration through the crucifixion and burial, their eyes cloaked — closed — in grief.
Maybe Jesus looked radically different in some way(s) after all of this. He was resurrected, not merely resuscitated, after all.* The point was never to be the same.
Whatever the case, they do not recognize him until they are at the table together, and Jesus blesses and breaks bread, and gives it to them. Then, John tells us, their eyes are opened and they recognize him. Later, they tell the others that “he had been made known to them in the breaking of the bread.”
He had been known to them in the breaking of the bread.
On Sunday, we broke and passed and took bread — thanks be to God and Guglhupf! — from where we were sitting (in my case, standing). For at least a few moments, we looked up from the roads along which we had been trudging, saw beyond the events that distract and overwhelm us, touched and smelled and tasted, paid attention to the One who draws near — and yet is strange(r), beyond our grasp.
In homiletics — a fancy word for the study and art of crafting and delivering sermons — I learned that you cannot fit everything you want into a sermon (unless you are Baptist and the sermon is 40 minutes). This academic theory is confirmed by your faces about 12 minutes into preaching.
So I always have at least two documents open when I am writing: my “real” sermon — the one I’ll actually preach; and the unedited version, with all the extra material that helps inspire and inform the process, but may not make it to the pulpit.
One of the outtakes this week was this gem from Barbara Brown Taylor’s An Altar in the World:
“To make bread or love, to dig in the earth, to feed an animal or cook for a stranger—these activities require no extensive commentary, no lucid theology. All they require is someone willing to bend, reach, chop, stir. Most of these tasks are so full of pleasure that there is no need to complicate things by calling them holy. And yet these are the same activities that change lives, sometimes all at once and sometimes more slowly, the way dripping water changes stone. In a world where faith is often construed as a way of thinking, bodily practices remind the willing that faith is a way of life.”
It was not the long explanation, the careful interpretation of scripture that revealed to the travelers who Jesus was; it was the pleasure-filled, extra ordinary, any-bodily practice of breaking bread.
This strikes me as very Good News in a world that constantly whispers — sometimes shouts — that we need to know, to do, to be more. Very Good News for those of us who consider our lives and our selves, our occupations and our offerings (in the widest senses) too simple, not enough.
In this season of Easter, this perennial spell of resurrection, may the presence of God and spirit of Christ be made known to us in the bending and digging, the chopping and stirring, the reaching and receiving.
*Marcus Borg elaborates on this point in the eight chapter, “The Truth of Easter,” of The Meaning of Jesus: Two Visions — worth reading!
Congratulations and thank you to all who planned and built this beautiful addition to our church property!
On March 19, the 5th grade children took a field trip during Sunday School to the unfinished labyrinth and became the first to walk it.
If anyone wants to join the YA mailing list, please let Jonathan Earnest know about your interest.