Greetings from Church of Peace!
Our condolences to the family of Lillian Huecker. Lillian passed away on Friday (September 14). Her funeral service will be at Church of Peace this Saturday, September 22.
We’re having a fall food drive to re-stock our food pantry shelves. Please bring your contributions any time the office is open, or on Sunday when you’re here for service. Thank you!
Hurricane Relief Donations: The United Church of Christ has a UCC “Emergency USA Fund” which provides disaster relief and rehabilitation programming within the United States. If you would like to donate to this fund, Church of Peace will collect your check or cash that you designate as “Hurricane Fund”.
Bazaar set-up will be after worship this Sunday. We will need lots of hands and muscles to make the job quick and easy for everyone. Thank you, in advance!
Please do not bring rummage sale items at this time – we do not have storage space. We will specify a date for those items to be brought (in mid-October) – for the Nov. 2-3 Ladies of Peace Rummage Sale.
The COP eBay Group donates all of their proceeds to our church’s General Fund: $1,000 so far!
Questions? Or if you’d like to help – Call Sharon at 906-9917 or Carol at 933-3070.
The following is Jack’s Musing:
Bad Day at the Pulpit I was chatting with my daughter the other day. I told her I had visited a church on the weekend and was sadly disappointed with my experience. I had been restless and wanted a place to be calm and listen with the best of myself to ancient understandings of truth. I know, in my mind’s eye, I hear you say, “You are a minister, and you should go.” But, since I retired from the clergy I have become selective with my time. I desire not so much passion or entertainment, but rather thoughtfulness, honesty and a word in time to help me make sense of the world I live in. I thought upon retirement that my life might become a bit easier. I thought I might reduce stress and enter the golden years with joy and certainty. All I am saying is I needed something. So I arrive at the church and sit down in a comfortable pew, listen to the organ prelude music, meditate and calm myself. I found the minister to be pleasant with his black dyed hair and jewelry on each wrist. The children’s message was cute, and he talked to the congregation as if each person was his very best friend. During the moments of prayer for the community of the church and the larger world I found myself focused. I offered my own prayers of intercession for family members and friends. I find the occasion of doing so to be positive for me. Then, the time for the homily arrived. I was eager to hear what this pastor thought. He jumped right in by telling the congregation that he was going on holiday for two weeks. One week his elderly mother was coming to visit, and the next he was traveling to see a child that lived some distance away. This took ten minutes. He then spent five minutes looking at a text he never talked about. He never said what he thought or believed about the text. Mercifully, he sat down and the service ended. I looked at my spouse and said something like, “Get me out of here.” I left feeling empty, not challenged, and thinking no wonder the church is in decline. I realize that the experience of a sacred service in any tradition is not about me. It is not even about the congregation attending. It is about understanding something sacred, touching something beyond my grasp and finding myself in the presence of the holy. I do know what is happening in the membership is important, and that people who attend want to feel good about themselves. The upshot is that nothing critical is ever said or even broached. The one thing necessary is never approached and everyone leaves untouched, unmoved, and actually not respected by the clergy. That morning in a strange church I decided not to return. Why bother? If the church does not stand for anything, at least in the sense of the Christian tradition, why bother? If it does not stand in the gap for the broken and the needy who does it stand for? Why pay any attention to it? If I do not feel the presence of that which is wholly other and have my strong defenses broached, how can I change? If the ritual is empty and vacuous, is that not a definition of hell? I have many clergy friends around the country that will tell you that I have a low tolerance level for a worship experience that means little or nothing. They have higher tolerance than I do for crap. I generally, if not engaged, will leave in the middle of an experience that is set up to be drivel. One female pastor friend that I admire was being married in a large church. The ceremony was nice, but the pastor said and did nothing that added to the sacredness of the service. She came to me later and said, “Thank you for not getting up and leaving.” I felt awful that she would think I would do that. However, I wanted to do just that. I attended a number of worship experiences earlier in the year that made me clap my hands, sing, and shout. At those services, I’ve made decisions concerning my time and the direction of my life. In each experience I found myself fully alive and committed to love and service. I, in a word, was moved to be a better person. It was, as author John Shea writes, “An Experience Named Spirit.” I felt the presence of the Holy One. I knew I would be different following this divine human encounter and wanted to be. Through the years I have tried to give a lot, redress my failures, sins and flaws. I would be nothing without having done so. It is in the midst of these encounters that I have found direction, hope, and completeness. To say it clearly, it has helped me be a better man and pastor. This for me is as necessary as breathing. As a Christ follower, this may be what informs the best of me. It does not matter one’s tradition, background, whatever. What matters is that the head and heart are engaged at the core of one’s being. It requires the core of oneself to be fully involved in order to make a difference wherever we are following the experience. I will remain open to that which is authentic and engaging, and look for places that afford that which I cannot find in the world at large. I will attempt to be one that listens deeply. I will not sit through ritual that does not require anything of me other than that which is rote. There I have said it. I feel better now. Jack