I couldn’t stand it last night. Finally, at about 2:00 am, I just had to climb out of bed, go across my bedroom and drag the dog’s bed (along with the sleeping dog) out into the hallway, closing the door behind her.
You see, the problem is that appearances can be deceiving. You look at little Maggie, all 21 pounds of canine companionship, and you think, “How cute! What a sweet little Corgi!” What you don’t see at first glance is her determination, her intense loyalty, or her athletic enthusiasm. Like all Corgis, Maggie is a herder, who likes to work hard and to maintain her status as a preferred member of the pack, someone who surely deserves to sleep in the same room as I inhabit.
Still, even with all this knowledge, appearances can deceive. Who would ever have thought that such a small body could produce such a LARGE sound! I’m telling you – this dog SNORES like a stevedore… and one with a bad head cold, at that! In the middle of the night, when I’ve awakened her repeatedly, only to have her resume sawing logs in a matter of minutes, it is difficult for me to remember all those endearing Corgi qualities.
In the middle of the night all I am aware of is the annoyance of being kept awake. And I have to confess I am not particularly gracious, nor even terribly patient about that deceptive appearance. So when she nudges the bedroom door open a crack and I see those two fox-like ears peeking inside, I am the one who growls, telling her to go away and leave me alone.
I tell this story because it gets me to thinking about other stories. We all have moments of surprise, when our perception of others turns out to be incomplete, inadequate, or downright wrong. Appearances can be deceiving, and so often we find the deception fades away in those moments of annoyance or stress or conflict, so that it can be difficult to see anything beyond our annoyance. It can be difficult to remember the endearing qualities when faced with the irritating ones.
And yet, when the light shines just right on those fox-like ears (or in the eyes of another), it is possible to catch a glimpse beyond the irritation. It is possible to allow others to be more of who they are, knowing that we will never be able to see ALL of them at once. And they will never be able to see all of us, either.
The gift we are given when our deceptions crumble and appearances become more real is the gift of possibility. Not only for the other – but also for us. It is the gift which reminds us that each of us carries within us an infinite number of possibilities. If appearances can be deceiving, they can also be freeing. When the light – God’s light – shines just right.
March 7 is the 2013 Oregon Legislative Advocacy Event sponsored by United Methodist Women.
All are welcome.
The meeting will take place in the Micah Building of Salem First United Methodist Church from 8:30 AM to 4:00 PM. The theme is Susanna Wesley’s Legacy: A Good Education and Concern for Others.
Speakers will talk about the legislative process, advocacy by people of faith, and education funding.
A continental breakfast and lunch will be provided with legislators invited to join us for lunch.
Following lunch, attendees will visit the state capitol. Additional information and registration forms are available on OR/ID UMW website.
Registration deadline is February 28.
Reconciling Ministries is a group of First Church members and friends who strive to embody “open hearts, open minds, and open doors,” and to promote First Church as welcoming to all persons, including every race, nationality, age, gender, social condition, ability, sexual orientation, and gender identity.
On the third Sunday of each month, Reconciling Ministries and friends go out to lunch after church. Sunday, February 17th, the group will walk to the West Cafe for lunch. Look for the rainbow umbrella in Collins Hall after worship service. For more information about Reconciling Ministries, contact Pastor Jeremy Smith or Erin Riley.
River cruising in Europe is our favorite way to go! The First Church Travelers trip in October of 2014 will include a 7-night river cruise on the Elbe River in Germany, and stays in the historic cities of Berlin and Prague.
It may seem like this is a long time away–but on a 90 passenger ship, space can fill quickly! Join First Church members and friends on this wonderful way to see the world!
To learn more about this tour, and the opportunity to pre-register, watch the informational video or contact contact Cheryl Luce at firstname.lastname@example.org.
On Sunday, February 3, the Mardi Gras committee made a very difficult decision to cancel this year’s Mardi Gras, scheduled for February 9, due to low ticket sales. Even though the committee had already spent a couple of months planning the event, we knew it was the right decision.
I want to personally thank Whitney Henion, committee chair, Greg Henion, Art and Trudy Kayser for the time and work they had already contributed to the organizing of the event. Planning such a major event takes many hours.
I would also like to thank the many individuals who so generously donated to the Friends of Music the money they had given for tickets to the Mardi Gras event as well as those who helped sponsor the event. Your contributions are so very much appreciated.
I do hope you are planning to attend the ‘Celebrate! Youth and the Arts’n April 21 at 3:00. We have some incredibly talented youth in our congregation. This is your opportunity to see their talent in ways you don’t see on Sundays during a church service.
Jeanne Teisher, Chair, Music Committee
I truly enjoyed our first session last month where we watched some clips from Star Wars and talked about the philosophy/theology in them. And we had wonderful popcorn by Paul and Tim…woohoo!
Our next session is Thursday, February 28th at 6:30pm in the Fireside Room.
We will be talking generally about sci-fi and bible stories, and the clips will be from the TV series Firefly by Joss Whedon (who also directed/created Buffy and Angel and directed the most recent Avengers movie). If you can, try to watch the first episode before the session to familiarize yourself with the characters. All the Firefly shows are available on iTunes ($2 an episode) or for free on Amazon Instant/Netflix Instant).
For the overachievers and those familiar with Firefly, we will be discussing the episode “Ariel.”
Remember that some sessions will be on sci-fi you are familiar with, some will not, but all will be enjoyable for lovers of Scifi and I hope you can attend.
Bring a friend!
Share this link on Facebook or by email with other Sci-fi lovers!
Rev. Jeremy Smith, Minister of Discipleship
This week I will celebrate my birthday. My 58th birthday – good heavens, how did that happen?! I recently convened the first meeting of the “20-Somethings” Sunday School class (which meets each week from 9:30-10:15 am in my office) by telling them, “You are my people… You may not realize it, but I imagine myself to be one of you!”
They were very gracious and at least did not let me see their eyes rolling. Because of course I really am not 20-something any more, and have not been for quite some time. And yet…
Writer Anne Lamott once commented, “I am all the ages I’ve ever been.” I like that understanding of age, and I think about it every time my birthday rolls around. I like it because I have found there is something to be cherished and appreciated about every step along the journey of life. There is the spontaneity of 6 year olds, the courage of toddlers, the curiosity of teenagers, the passion of 20 year olds, the practicality of 30 year olds, the stamina of multi-tasking 40 year olds, the spiritual deepening of 50 year olds… and who knows what I will discover about the 58 year old me, or the 60 year old (eek!)
I do believe we carry within us all those ages and stages, and if we are lucky (or maybe just smart), we drag them out and live through them again from time to time. Because no good birthday – and no good age – should ever be wasted, forgotten, or lost forever. We all are all the ages we’ve ever been. And the truth is, we are all the ages yet to come.
Focusing on a Redeeming Second Chance for the Church
Beginning with Ash Wednesday, Lenten Suppers will be held each Wednesday from 5:30 to 7:15 pm in Collins Hall and the Fireside Room.
Ash Wednesday February 13
Supper begins at 5:30 pm in Collins Hall, then gather in the Chapel at 7:00 for the imposition of ashes, a visual reminder of our second chances.
Each week following supper we will host a speaker on these topics:
One More Chance at Compassion – February 20
How the church is called to ministry with the poor and the homeless.
Guest Speaker: Paul Schroedeh, New City Initiative
One More Chance at Reconcillation – February 27
The story of First Church’s continuing efforts to include gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgender persons ln the life of the church.
Guest Speaker: Panel of First Church’s Reccnciling Ministry
One More Chance at Understanding – March S
Caring for those with mental illness.
Guest Speaker Chris Bouneff, NAMI Oregon
One More Chance at Justice – March 13
Multiculturalism and how we might truly accept and empower
Guest Speaker: Kristina Gonzalez, Pacific NW Annual Conference
One More Chance at Our Borders – March 20
Responding to the needs of immigrants in our community.
Guest Sbeaker: Mira Conklin, Jeremiah House
Join with other progressive United Methodists to meet with Chett Pritchett, Interim Executive Director of Methodist Federation for Social Action, Monday evening, February 4th.
Pritchett and Steve Clunn, coordinator for the Love Your Neighbor Coalition, are based in Washington, DC, but traveled to Portland to make arrangements for Coalition work at the United Methodist General Conference 2016, which will be held in Portland.
This is an early opportunity to hear what various groups working for the full participation of all people in the church are planning as we move forward from General Conference 2012 to 2016 in Portland.
Details: Monday, February 4th, 7:00 pm, Cherry Park United Methodist Church, 1736 SE 106th Ave.
“Coping with the everyday challenges of life as we age.”
Bill paying, grocery shopping, balancing our checkbook, laundry, housecleaning, to drive or not to drive, computer angst, household repairs…the list goes on.
This month, we can all talk with Jeanette about all the challenges we face each day in our lives…and share solutions that work for us!
Saturday, February 16th, Fireside Room, 10:30 AM – Noon
Attention Seniors: Graceful Aging Fellowship Started
A new fellowship group for our senior members and friends has now begun. “Graceful Aging Fellowship” is a life-enhancing new monthly group that meets to improve mind, body, and spirit as we all encounter the challenges of aging well.
Each month, everyone attending will have the chance to “check-in” and share with fellow participants the joys and concerns in their lives both past and present. There will also be entertaining simple exercises to improve both our mind and body. And often, you will hear from outside experts who will present information on topics such as estate planning, Medicare and health, meal planning, making choices in your living arrangements, and other topics of interest to everyone.
This fellowship is an offshoot of the Graceful Aging workshops which were conducted in fall, 2012. One of our church members, Jeanette Chardon, MSW, led those four sessions. Jeanette founded “Elder Care Consultants”, which “helps you find solutions for life’s transitions.” Jeanette’s kind, compassionate, and professional demeanor has been warmly embraced by the many seniors who took part in the fall workshop series.
The goal of the new Graceful Aging Fellowship is to allow seniors with common concerns and interests to have a regular place where everyone can get together monthly and discuss issues important to their lives. Hopefully new friendships will be born, and the participants will go away feeling reassured, that they have a circle of friends to share their joys and deepest concerns with in the group or later in more intimate settings.
Graceful Aging Fellowship meets on the third Saturday of each month from 10:30 AM – Noon. Most meetings will be in the intimate setting of the Fireside Room. Upcoming meeting dates are:
February 16, March 16, April 20, May 18…all third Saturdays of the month.
For more information, you can see Mark at the Outreach Table each Sunday in Collins Hall. Or, if you prefer, Jeanette Chardon can be contacted at: email@example.com or at 503-866-3192.
At the February 6 Unit Meeting, a recently commissioned Deaconesses who lives in Salem, will present our program. The Deaconess program is a movement of laywomen who feel called to serve God and are commissioned by the United Methodist Church to full-time ministries of love, justice, and service.
The movement began in l888 and continues today. The Deaconess will dress in historic clothing worn by deaconesses, bring information from the archives, and lead our devotions.
Our gathering begins at 10:00 in the Fireside Room, followed by the program at 11:00, and a luncheon gathering at noon. Bring a sandwich. Dessert and beverage will be provided.
Holy! Holy! Holy!
The world is holy! The soul is holy! The skin is holy!
Holy time in eternity! Holy eternity in time! Holy the
hands that drop a question on your plate!
Holy the sea holy the desert holy the shawl holy the
plate holy the visions—and revisions—holy the
eye holy the abyss!
Holy forgiveness! mercy! charity! faith! Holy! Ours!
bodies! suffering! magnanimity!
Holy the kindness of the soul!
Join fellow United Methodists and First Church friends exploring the world!
Next September you are invited to a wonderful experience in the United States: The Islands of New England.
Features in the tour include the charming areas of Nantucket, Martha’s Vineyard, Cape Cod and more.
The tour is very reasonably priced, and includes air out of Portland.
Sponsored by the Travel Committee at First UMC, Portland, it will be escorted by Cheryl Luce.
For brochures and more information contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Last week we celebrated Martin Luther King Jr’s birthday, remembering a prophetic voice of justice in the struggle for civil rights and racial equality. One of Dr. King’s most famous speeches is his “I Have a Dream” speech, given during the August 28, 1963 March on Washington. In it, King says, in part:
“…in spite of the difficulties and frustrations of the moment, I still have a dream. I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed, ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.
…I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.
…I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain,and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together…”
It was a great speech, given in a great historical moment. And while there has been much movement forward toward the realization of Dr. King’s dreams, the work is definitely not complete. And there is still a crying need for dreamers, dreaming dreams of justice and righteousness, of peace, forgiveness and love.
What is your dream? What is it you would bring to God and your community as you consider this community, this nation, this planet? It is a good day for dreams. It is an essential time for dreamers. Because the glory of the Lord is still waiting to be fully revealed.
Join us for this popular event on March 5th as professionals read the Pulitzer Prize play, Lost in Yonker’s, by Neil Simon.
The setting is the Old Church in downtown Portland.
We meet at First Church at 9:00 AM and carpool to the Old Church. Following the play we return to the Oregon Culinary Institute for a very special lunch.
Registration is $22.00 for the play tickets and lunch with a limit of 20 participants.
Register in the Church Office 503.228-3195 by Feb 14, 2013.