“Graceful Aging”, our senior fellowship group resumes meetings on Saturday, September 21st from 10:30AM to Noon. We meet in the Fireside Room near Collins Hall.
The September meeting will be a chance for all our active seniors to “check in” and share news of summer activities and discuss new resources for helping us deal with the joys and challenges of life as we age. Group moderator is Ms. Jeanette Chardon who is the founder of ElderCare Consultants. Future monthly topics will include how to get the most from Medicare in October and in November Ms. Karen Bolin, a professional financial advisor will discuss financial planning issues facing active seniors. Plan to join us!
“The Roma of Europe”, also know as Gypsies, is the single largest minority group in Europe, who over the years have been enslaved, shunned, and persecuted. This was just one of the topics studied at Mission u this past July at George Fox University.
The Ruth Circle will meet Wednesday, September 18 at noon in Room 204 to hear more on this topic. Bring a sandwich for lunch. Dessert and beverages will be provided.
Kathleen Dean Moore Confronts Climate Change
On Saturday, September 21st at 2pm, Kathleen Dean Moore, Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at Oregon State University will speak in Collins Hall on the moral urgency of Climate Change. Dr. Moore is a moral philosopher and environmental ethicist, as well as the author of several award-winning books of environmental reflection, including The Pine Island Paradox (The World as Home); Wild Comfort: The Solace of Nature; and Holdfast: At Home in the Natural World. She is also the co-editor of Moral Ground: Ethical Action for a Planet in Peril, a collection of essays from leading thinkers in all fields, calling us to discharge our moral responsibilities to the planet.
Following Dr. Moore’s talk a series of workshops will be offered on subjects including: Testifying on the Longview Coal Export Terminal; Northwest Fossil Fuel Exports; and Fossil Fuel Divestment.
This free event is cosponsored by Planet Church, Oregon Interfaith Power and Light, Greenpeace and Physicians for Social Responsibility.
Growing up, my father was a clown. Yes, really. But I have one specific memory of his profession that ended up leading to a skill that I cherish today.
When I was a child, my father would do education-based children’s shows that encouraged children to read at libraries across rural Oklahoma. We would travel to an area, do 2-3 shows at a few rural towns, and then camp somewhere close-by that night…just so we could repeat the schedule the next day!
After I memorized the show after the first or second show, I found that I wanted to do something else other than listen to my father (typical child!). I would look for a teen or young reader’s book that I could read and finish by the end of his hour-long show. A Hardy Boys, Three Investigators, or in a pinch a Nancy Drew book did just the trick. I found by the second or third trip that I began to be able to read the 75-100 page novels in about an hour. That’s pretty quick!
That skill of speed-reading served me well until I got to college and graduate school: speed-reading does not always lead to comprehension. I’ve had to learn to slow down and re-read sections that I’ve tagged as interesting. It is in the act of re-visiting the text that I find I get the most out of it, not the first time through. I now have a few shelves of novels that I re-read when I want to relax. I take it slow, savor the details, and truly enjoy the scenes being crafted through prose onto my imagination.
I think in our prayer life, there’s a tendency to want to speed-read. To get through the prayer list as quickly as possible. To do the obligatory prayer so we can get on with our meal. Perhaps even in worship to feel better at how quickly we got through the words and song, the sermon and the prayers. And yet, it is in the act of re-praying, or re-reading, or re-singing, or re-imagining the sermon that we get more out of the moment.
My hope is that you also discern when and where you are speed-living and find ways to slow down and enjoy the novel, the prayer, the worship, the moment in ways that lead to life.
I may still speed-read the novels…I got through Dan Brown’s Inferno in four hours on the couch last weekend. But maybe, just maybe, I’ll get more out of it when I take it slower. Maybe you will too.
Portland’s favorite coupon book goes on sale in the Commons, Sunday, September 1
Chinook Book, the green coupon book, first turned up in 1999 as a project of Portland’s Celilo Group. Since then it has become an institution in Portland (as well as in Denver, Seattle, the San Francisco Bay Area and the Twin Cities).
Following the example of other coupon books, Chinook Book offers over 500 discount coupons, the twist being that there is a sustainability angle with all the vendors represented: from transportation (Bike Gallery, ZipCar, Eco Car Wash, etc.) to groceries (New Seasons, Zupan’s, Bob’s Red Mill, etc.); to dining (HotLips Pizza, Grand Central Baking, Burgerville, etc.) and many, many more.
The Chinook Book comes in two forms: print ($20), and cell phone app ($15), and all proceeds from our sales of Chinook Book go to support the projects of Planet Church.
Looking for a safe place to bring questions, doubts? Wondering if Christianity is relevant in the 21st century? Then a place is waiting for you at the table every Sunday at 9:00 AM in Room 202. This Fall begins with a discussion of the best selling book, Zealot by Reza Aslan, and a fresh look at the life and times of Jesus of Nazareth.
On Saturday, September 14th from 9-11:30AM, an inspired group of our volunteers will visit the Oregon Food Bank’s Beaverton location to help repack food which will be distributed to Oregon’s hungry families. You can join us!
A sign up sheet will be posted in Collins Hall during Coffee Hour each Sunday after worship. See Mark at the Outreach Table and he can answer your questions about this important Outreach project. It’s fun and the time flies by as you join with other volunteers to repack bulk foods into family sized portions.
Along with the recent Downtown Compassion Clinic, this is another community service project of our Church and Society for Social Justice Committee.
On Sunday September 15th, starting at noon, our two Greathouse Summer Interns will present a forum in which they’ll talk about their summer internship experiences.
One served this summer with the Mt. Hood Little League keeping disadvantaged kids active in summer softball programs. Our other intern spent her summer working at Tigard’s Good Neighbor Center which is a homeless family shelter which provides summer school activity for homeless children.
At the forum, you’ll hear in detail the stories from each intern about their experiences this summer and their plans for their futures. Every year, we award two Greathouse Internships to worthy candidates. They are paid for their time and serve in a variety of community outreach organizations during the summer break from school. The First Church “Church and Socitey Committee for Social Justice” is the group that screens candidates and then selects the summer interns for this program. Learn more on Sunday September 15th!
You never know what’s going to happen at a staff meeting here at the church. Whether it is Dick bringing on toy racecars, Donna giving us crayons and mandalas, or Dwight bringing in funny cartoons, it is always an energetic space for us to collaborate our Kingdom work together.
This week I brought in a United Methodist Quiz to test our knowledge on truly trivial things related to our Church. I borrowed it from an online version found here–I am ashamed to admit that I only got 11 out of 20! But the ones that I gave the staff (and they mostly passed!) were:
1) How tall was John Wesley?
5’3 or 5’4 5’8 or 5’9
6’0 or 5’9 6’3 or 6’4
2) In the late 1800s, Methodists were to avoid attending which of the following?
horse races games of chance
all of the above
3) The 1904 General Conference sang what song as a tribute to President William McKinley?
Nearer My God to Thee O For a Thousand Tongues to Sing
Rock of Ages Onward Christian Soldiers
4) Why was General Conference 1800 moved from fall to spring?
inclement weather yellow fever
location disagreement scheduling mix up
5) What ranked #1 in a poll on The United Methodist Church’s official Facebook page asking, “What is your favorite hymn in The United Methodist Hymnal?”
”How Great Thou Art” “The Old Rugged Cross”
”Here I Am, Lord” “Amazing Grace”
6) What does the flame in the United Methodist Cross and Flame emblem represent?
the Holy Spirit
John Wesley feeling his heart strangely warmed
Union of the Methodist Church & the Evangelical United Brethren Church
all of the above
7) Which of the following are mascots at United Methodist Universities?
Chuck the Pioneer The Battling Bishops
The Blue Devil A really fierce Terrier
All of the Above
You’ll have to take the online quiz to find out the answers (and some are surprising!) but I just wanted to share these for your enjoyment today. Blessings until we see each other again.
Heartfelt “thanks” to all who gave so generously to support this year’s Downtown Compassion Clinic. We raised enough funding to support over 70 clients at the Clinic. And we had a team of volunteers present to serve the guests who attended. Here you see some of our church members who helped in various functions at the Clinic.
Once again, the poor and homeless who attended were served with services that included dental, vision, podiatry, internal medicine, haircuts, toiletry items, bicycle repair, pet neutering, and clothing. In addition, over 20 social services organizations were on hand to answer questions and help those in need of specialized help.
This is our major fundraising effort of the year for the Church and Society group. We far surpassed previous goals this year and owe a huge debt of thanks to the compassionate hearts of our church membership. Thank you so much to all who contributed!
I heard two stories about forgiveness this past week at camp and I thought I would share them with you. They may or may not be true, but I share them for the sake of the meaning, not the accuracy of their factuality.
The first: When God Forgives…
In the old book A Forgiving God in an Unforgiving World, Ron Lee Davis retells the true story of a priest in the Philippines, a much-loved man of God who carried the burden of a secret sin he had committed many years before. He had repented but still had no peace, no sense of God’s forgiveness.
In his parish was a woman who deeply loved God and who claimed to have visions in which she spoke with Christ and he with her. The priest, however, was skeptical. To test her said, “The next time you speak with Christ, I want you to ask him what sin your priest committed while he was in seminary.” The woman agreed.
A few days later the priest asked., “Well, did Christ visit you in your dreams?”
“Yes, he did,” she replied.
“And did you ask him what sin I committed in seminary?”
“Well, what did he say?”
“He said, ‘I don’t remember’”
What God forgives, God forgets. What do you need to remember God has forgotten?
The second: When we forgive…
There’s a Spanish story of a father and son who had become estranged. The son ran away, and the father set off to find him. He searched for months to no avail.
Finally, in a last desperate effort to find him, the father put an ad in Madrid newspaper. The ad read: “Dear Paco, meet me in front of this newspaper office at noon on Saturday. All is forgiven. I love you. Your Father.”
On Saturday at noon, 800 Pacos showed up, looking for forgiveness and love from their fathers.
Who needs to hear “all is forgiven” from you today?
Just two “preachable” stories that I felt like sharing.
Blessings be with you until we meet again this Sunday!
Last Fall the Parish Conference adopted a new strategic plan to focus on new growth for our congregation. The plan was crafted to place us on a positive trajectory for our impact on the community, our ministry to our congregation, and increasing attendance and resources.
One of the highest priorities of our plan was to secure the services of a manager for our communications and marketing. Our hiring committee received over 49 applications for this contracted role. The position currently will be available for approximately 20 hours per week for the next six months after which we will assess the effectiveness of this approach. We feel very fortunate to have received the services of a newcomer in our community, Kendall Martin.
Kendall is a senior marketing and communications consultant and he and his fiancee are looking forward to being a dynamic part of the FUMC community. His overall professional experience includes a mix of traditional advertising, public relations, online communications and co-branded promotions for clients such as the U.S. Army, Infiniti, Nissan and Kellogg’s. He has also provided marketing services and strategic communications counsel to the UMC Baltimore-Washington conference and Good Hope Union UMC in his hometown of Silver Spring, MD.
In 2002, Kendall completed his Master of Business Administration from the American University in Washington, DC with dual concentrations in Marketing and Financial Management.
Some of the deliverables for this role include developing and implementing a communications plan (including branding, social media, online video and email). This plan will assist FUMC in reaching 80% of our members monthly, connecting with 75% of first-time visitors, and attracting 12 earned media mentions annually within 3 years. We want to put in place the communications infrastructure necessary to reach all age groups in adaptable ways within our congregation and in the wider community. We want to build a common brand and messaging supporting our goals (for mission and resources) so we have successful outreach.
Please join us in welcoming Kendall to the northwest and to Portland’s First Church!
Planet Church Presents Climate Change Forum on July 28th
Our early-summer heat wave may be in the rear-view mirror, but there is no reason to believe that there won’t be more extreme-weather stories in the coming months. Perhaps this is a good time to pause and take stock of what we know about Climate Change, and ponder strategies for bringing it to a stop.
After worship on Sunday, July 28th, Planet Church will present a screening of Do the Math in the Fireside Room. This short film, focuses on the work of climate activist and a Rolling Stone piece last July, is that climate scientists suggest that the math of our climate future is simple: we can emit roughly 500 more gigatons of carbon dioxide into our atmosphere and remain below 2 degrees Celsius of warming – anything more than that risks a calamity for life on earth. The only problem? Burning the fossil fuel that industries now have in their reserves would result in emitting over 2700 gigatons of carbon dioxide – five times the tolerable amount. And the fossil fuel industry continue to seek additional reserves, with a plan to sell it all.
Do the Math is a sobering film, but it also offers strategies—in particular, divesting in fossil fuel companies—for pushing back against the industry, and ends on a note of hope. At a time when McKibben, a Methodist Sunday School teacher, was particularly disheartened, an interviewer offered a discouraging observation: “This sounds sort of like a hopeless ‘David and Goliath’ battle.” McKibben was nodding his head gloomily, when he was hit by a flash of inspiration. “Wait a minute!” he said. “I know that story…I know how it ends. David wins!”
Join us on July 28th for this sobering yet encouraging film. Following the screening there will be time for a brief discussion, and as usual, Planet Church will provide a luncheon of assorted salads and rolls.
On Wednesday, July 17th author-activist Bill McKibben will speak at a luncheon conversation, titled “Faith in the Global Movement for Climate Justice.” The event will be held from 11:30am to 1:30pm in Collins Hall, and will be co-sponsored by Planet Church and Oregon Interfaith Power and Light (a project of Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon).
Bill McKibben is the author of a dozen books about the environment, beginning in 1989 with The End of Nature, which is regarded as the first book for a general audience on climate change. He is a founder of the grassroots climate campaign 350.org, which has coordinated 15,000 rallies in 189 countries since 2009. In 2010, his journalism and tireless activism prompted The Boston Globe to call him ‘probably the country’s most important environmentalist.’ In addition to his other honors and duties, he is Schumann Distinguished Scholar at Middlebury College, as well as a Sunday school teacher at his home Methodist Church.
The cost of the conversation with Bill McKibben (which includes lunch) is $15, and registration can be completed online through Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon.
FOLLOW UP EVENT
On Sunday, July 28th, Planet Church will host a forum in the Fireside Room following worship. The Forum will feature a screening and discussion of Bill McKibben’s film Do the Math, and lunch will be provided by Planet Church. More information is available here.