First Church Library will hold another used book sale on Sunday, May 19, before and after worship in Collins Hall.
This is our final book sale of the year, and everything must go.
Books will be for “sale” by donation. Take what you want, and we ask that you give what you can (cash or checks only). All proceeds will benefit First Church Library.
We will be setting up for the sale on Saturday, May 18, beginning at 9:30 AM and could use a few additional volunteers.
If you can help, please leave your name with one of the Sunday volunteers in the Library or at the Library table in the Commons.
Or, you can just show up on Saturday morning at 9:30 AM.
We can also use some extra hands to help box up any leftover books immediately following the sale on May 19.
During the month of April, First Church Library is highlighting the writings of Frederick Buechner with a display of a sample of his many books in our collection.
Buechner is America’s most distinguished living pastor-novelist with over 30 books to his credit. His writing career began in 1948, and his first novel, A Long Day’s Dying, was completed in 1950. His calling to ministry in the Presbyterian Church came later, and he was ordained in 1958. Some felt that the move to ordained ministry would hurt his potential as a writer, but the two paths served to enhance each other.
Buechner’s writings alternate between fiction, theological reflection, and memoir. Highlights include the Pulitzer Prize-nominated account of the life of the medieval saint Godric in the book of the same title; The Alphabet of Grace, which he delivered for Harvard’s Noble Lectures; and his initial autobiographical work, The Sacred Journey. Buechner’s work is thoroughly informed by his Christian faith but, perhaps because it is never simplistic, never preaches, and never shies away from life’s dark moments, it has earned praise from both Christian and non-Christian readers.
The Buechner display is the latest in First Church Library’s ongoing “Focus on” monthly series highlighting the work of authors often mentioned by our pastors or in our adult classes. Past writers include Barbara Brown Taylor and Adam Hamilton. All books on display are available for checkout.
First Church Library will hold the first of its two 2013 fundraising books sales on Sunday, February 24, before and after worship, in Collins Hall. There will be a wide variety of books available (fiction, biography, crafts, history, children’s, cooking, etc.). Even the most hardcore e-book reader might find something of interest.
Books are for “sale” by donation. The books will not be priced. Take what you want, and we ask that you give what you can (cash or checks only). All proceeds will benefit First Church Library.
If you’ve never checked out our library, stop by on a Sunday before or after worship. We have over 3,000 titles. Many people are surprised to discover that our collection includes more than just Bibles and Bible commentaries. We also have titles that support the many programs of First Church as well as fiction and books for children.
In order to address the problem of homelessness in our community, we need to understand that the solution is more than just making more affordable housing available. In his book “The Soloist,” Steve Lopez, a Los Angeles Times columnist, describes his efforts to help Nathaniel Ayers, a homeless musician, move into permanent shelter. Mr. Lopez describes how difficult it was to find a place for his homeless friend to live and then to convince him to come in from the streets.
The solution to helping just one homeless individual can be complex as Steve Lopez discovered. Limited affordable housing and social services are only a couple of the factors. Unemployment and mental health issues can complicate matters further. Also, in the same way that being unemployed makes it harder to get hired for a job, being homeless can make it more difficult to find a place to live.
I didn’t understand this so clearly until I moved to Portland and became acquainted with two people who were homeless. One was successfully able to seek out social service programs that helped him into transitional housing and later into a subsidized apartment. Even though he still has a number of issues to work through, he is the lucky one. The other is a woman who is spending this winter mostly outdoors. While waiting for her name to rise to the top of the waiting list for subsidized housing, she is dependent on warming shelters and the kindness of strangers at various churches and non-profit agencies to survive. I am convinced that one thing that makes it more difficult for her is that her appearance defines her as homeless.
“The Soloist” is available for checkout at First Church Library. Two other books of interest at our Library are Jonathan Kozol’s “Rachel and her Children,” a book about homeless families, and Jessica Morrell’s “Voices from the Street,” a book about Portland’s street population.
If you’ve read Donald Miller’s “Blue Like Jazz,” you might remember Tony the Beat Poet who played a role in Miller’s spiritual journey through the halls of Reed College and at SE Portland’s Horse Brass Pub. Tony the Beat Poet is Portland resident Tony Kriz who has written a new book, “Neighbors and Wise Men: Sacred Encounters in a Portland Pub and Other Unexpected Places.”
Tony Kriz describes his Christian upbringing as one that clearly defined the world in terms of those who follow Jesus and those who do not. As an adult, he went through periods of doubt about what he believed and learned during those times that God comes to you in many ways, including through people whom you might least expect, if you are open and bother to pay attention. In his case, these included more than a few non-Christians like the Muslims of Albania and the students of Reed College who encouraged him on his spiritual journey.
In his story of the “Wise Servant” in his book, Kriz describes the partnership between the city of Portland and conservative church congregations with the support of our liberal and also gay mayor, Sam Adams. While these churches might disagree with Mayor Adams on many issues, they were willing to collaborate to benefit the community, especially the children. Many things are possible if we draw the circle wide as we say here at First Church.
“Neighbors and Wise Men” is available for checkout at First Church Library.
Our remarkable Church Library awaits your visit.First Church Library is now accepting donations for its fund-raising book sales in 2013. The first book sale is scheduled for late February with a follow-up sale in May. All proceeds will benefit First Church Library.
We accept fiction and non-fiction books in good condition for adults and children, as well as books on tape/CD, music CDs, and DVDs. Most of the participants in our book sales are members of the First Church family. Based on past experience, there is little or no interest in purchasing condensed books (e.g., Reader’s Digest condensed novels), old textbooks, out-of-date computer software manuals, or multi-volume reference sets like encyclopedias and Bible commentaries. If you have a question about whether your items might be suitable for our sales, please ask one of the library volunteers. Donations can be dropped off on Sundays in the library. If you want to drop off donations during the week, stop by the church office to have someone let you into the library.
Because storage space at First Church is very limited, any books left after our second sale are usually donated to other organizations like the Children’s Book Bank, Beaverton Library Book Nook, and Multnomah County Friends of the Library.
Almost every Monday throughout the year, you will find a small group of volunteers working in First Church Library. They’re all readers and love books, all kinds of books.
If you should happen to drop in at the library on a Monday, you might find volunteers doing a variety of tasks: updating the data base of books checked in and out, notifying people with overdue books, selecting books for the library table in the Commons, working on the UMW Reading Program collection, identifying resources for the children’s Sunday school teachers, ordering and processing new titles, sorting donations for the upcoming used book sales etc. Some volunteers show up every Monday and others as they have time. Some show up early; others arrive late. We have a very flexible volunteer work schedule.
If you’re interested in learning more about what the library volunteers do, drop in on a Monday. You don’t have to ask in advance. Bring a sandwich and join us for lunch at noon. We can always make room for one more person at the table.
Do you remember First Church’s Compassion Coins? The idea was to pass along the coin when doing a kind deed for someone else and asking them to do the same for another person. Did you do it? What might have happened if you did? In her book for children, “Ordinary Mary’s Extraordinary Deed,” author Mary Pearson explores the possibilities.
Emily Pearson’s Mary is just an ordinary girl leading a very ordinary life. One day, Mary does something kind for someone else. It wasn’t anything exceptional or heroic like rescuing someone from a burning house. It was, well, perfectly ordinary. She saw blueberries in a vacant lot and decided to pick some to give to a neighbor. That small thoughtful gift led to another and another and another as each recipient passed a gift of kindness on to someone else. Mary’s ordinary little deed became extraordinary.
Mary’s story demonstrates that it doesn’t take heroices or a Compassion Coin to join a chain of people helping one another. For us here at First Church, it could be as simple as bringing one non-perishable food item for FISH Emergency Services on the first Sunday of each month to help provide a family in crisis with the makings of a meal. It doesn’t seem like much. We’re talking about just one can of food or jar of peanut butter or box of cereal. What possible difference could one food item make? Remember Mary’s gift of blueberries for her neighbor. You never know. The result could be amazing.
“Ordinary Mary’s Extraordinary Deed” can be found in the children’s section of First Church Library.
Good news! The First Church Library Table will be back in the Commons on Sunday, September 16, and not in late fall as indicated in the September 4 Circuit Rider Program Guide. Many people have asked where we’ve been all summer. Like many other members of the First Church family, the Library volunteers took a much needed break.
As usual, there will be a display of a sample of books–old and new–from the First Church Library collection. Stop by and take a look at the selection. It changes every week. The volunteer at the table would love to talk about books with you. A lot of people like e-books, but some of us think there is nothing better than the feel of the real deal. Did you know that on the old “Star Trek Generations” TV program, books on paper were prized possessions on the final frontier?
A small group of 11 volunteers keeps the Library operating. Except for our summer break, there is one volunteer in the Library before and after worship plus a second volunteer in the Commons almost every Sunday. There is also a small group that works on Mondays. We are always looking for new volunteers who love books and have a little time to help. If you want more information, contact Alyson Inouye or one of the other volunteers.
When asked, we probably all are pretty good at telling the stories of some of the Bible’s better known characters like Daniel or Lot. But, what do you know about Onesimus or Nathaniel or Rahab?
I freely admit that I’m no Biblical scholar and admire those who can cite Biblical verse at the drop of a hat. To make it worse, the Bible is filled with a host of people whose names and roles I sometimes have trouble keeping straight. I’m sure I’m not alone. Whenever I need a quick reference without a lot of stodgy theological language, I start with Frederick Buechner’s “Peculiar Treasures.” The title comes from Exodus 19:5 (KJV): “…ye shall be a peculiar treasure to me above all people…”
Buechner, an American writer and theologian, profiles more than 100 of the Bible’s interesting people and one whale. He uses a bit of humor to bring them to life and puts a slightly different and sometimes modern spin on who they were, making them all the more human just like us. Well, okay, he doesn’t make the whale more human but speculates about how the whale must have felt after swallowing a man like Jonah. After reading Buechner’s description about an individual or an event, I turn back to my Bible to read what it has to say to put it all into perspective.
“Peculiar Treasures” is available for checkout at First Church Library.
Why would First Church Library have what sounds like an instructional book about stealing dogs in its Young Readers section? No, we’re not trying to encourage bad behavior. “How to Steal a Dog” by Barbara O’Connor is a fictional story about a family that has fallen on hard times and has been forced to seek shelter in their car. The main character, Geraldine Hayes, tries to pretend to her friends at school that she is living a normal life just like them and embarks on a misguided attempt to remedy her family’s circumstances.
Our children may have noticed homeless individuals with their shopping carts or big backpacks around Portland but may not always be aware of the homeless families with kids their ages who live among us. Homeless kids may even be among their classmates at school, and some homeless families live here at the Goosehollow Shelter while they try to secure a permanent place to live. “How to Steal a Dog” might help young readers understand how difficult it is for a kid to live in those circumstances.
This book has a happy ending. Rest assured that in the end, Geraldine says that it is never a good thing to steal a dog even if you are doing it with the best of intentions to try to help your family financially.
First Church Library is looking for a few book lovers who might have a little time to help with library operations and projects. The Library is run entirely by volunteers, and we need some additional helpers beginning in the fall.
Some examples of volunteer activities include covering the library table in the Commons following worship, helping with the winter and spring fundraising book sales, writing book reviews for the church website, and other projects like identifying library resource materials for the children’s Sunday school teachers.
The time commitment is flexible (i.e., whatever works for you) and can be as little as a one-time project or a Sunday in the Commons every two or three months.
If you are interested in possibly volunteering, you are invited to attend the next meeting of the library volunteers on Sunday, August 19, immediately following worship in the library. We try to keep our meetings to under an hour. If you have questions, contact Alyson Inouye.
Would it surprise you to know that weddings have not always looked like they do today? In his book “Blessing Same-Sex Unions,” author Mark Jordan explores the history of the Christian wedding and what it means in modern times, especially in light of the desire of many gay couples to marry.
Common features of the modern Christian wedding like the bride’s white dress and the exchange of rings are not practices that date back to the early church and have little to do with the sacrament of Marriage. The author observes that the most important person presiding over the modern wedding ritual is often not the couple’s priest or pastor, but the wedding planner with wedding theology provided by “Modern Bride” or reality TV. He wonders if the trappings of the wedding ceremony overshadow the reason for getting married and having the couple’s relationship blessed in a religious ceremony.
We live in confusing times where weddings are concerned. When I lived in Hawaii, a popular moneymaker was wedding ceremonies for young Japanese tourists. These couples were already married but wanted to experience the western wedding they had seen on TV or at the movies, complete with the white bridal gown, the words of the modern traditional wedding ritual, and the cake with perhaps some champagne thrown in. Many of these faux weddings took place at local chapels built for this purpose, and a few churches conducted ceremonies as a way to make money. The churches rationalized the practice by saying that these weren’t real weddings but blessing ceremonies. Curiously, blessing the faux wedding of a non-Christian heterosexual couple was apparently okay while blessing the relationship between two Christians of the same sex might be taboo. Confused? I was.
If you’re interested in becoming more informed about the controversial topic of whom should be allowed to marry, “Blessing Same-Sex Unions” can be found in the New Titles section of First Church Library.
You may have heard about our UMW’s Prayer Shawl Ministry, but did you know that it isn’t unique to First Church? In their book “Knitting into the Mystery: A Guide to the Shawl-Knitting Ministry,” Susan S. Jorgensen and Susan S. Izard provide an explanation of the prayer shawl ministry and its history. The idea of making shawls to give away began in 1998 at a meeting at Hartford Seminary in Connecticut. Since that first meeting, many groups, including First Church’s UMW, have joined what may be described as the prayer shawl movement. Many of the women and men who make the shawls are part of a faith community, while others may have no religious affiliation.
In case you were wondering, a prayer shawl isn’t a special garment used by women while praying. Although you could certainly pray while wearing a prayer shawl, the word “prayer” in this case refers to the process of making the shawls. Whenever you make a gift for someone, you give not only the item istself but also something of yourself. As someone knits or crochets a prayer shawl, the maker’s prayers for healing, comfort, peace, love, and other blessings for the recipient become a part of the very fabric. Shawls are given to anyone, including men, who might have a need for a warm gift of love.
If you want to learn more about the prayer shawl ministry, “Knitting into the Mystery” is available for checkout at First Church Library.
Two new books in Mark Schweizer’s popular Liturgical Mystery novel series have arrived at First Church Library.
For those unfamiliar with the series, here’s a brief recap. The setting is tiny St. Germaine, North Carolina, where life is good and Hayden Konig is Sheriff. Sheriff Konig is also the organist (one of the best ivory jockeys in the county) of St. Barnabas Episcopal Church and a wannabe crime writer despite what has been described as a conspicuous lack of talent. Samples of his prose are included so you can judge for yourself. Church politics, a little crime, and more than a few crazy characters make for hilarious reading.
If you’re in the mood for some light summer reading, First Church Library now has “The Countertenor Wore Garlic” and “Christmas Cantata” available for checkout. The books can be found in the New Titles section. Look for his earlier novels in the series on the Fiction shelves.