Greetings from Church of Peace 07/19/18

Greetings from Church of Peace!

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The following is Jack’s Musing:

Mind the Gap

When in England a short while back, my wife and I learned how to navigate London via the “Tube.” It was great fun and I enjoyed the experience. There are trains going everywhere underground and above ground also. However, I was stunned on every train ride I took to hear British politeness come to the fore. For example, as the train arrives at the platform, a voice rings out, "Please mind the gap." The gap of course is the space between the platform and the floor of the coach you are entering or exiting.

Sometimes there was no worry about falling into the gap. The gap was small and there was no issue. On some trains though, the gap between the coach and the platform could swallow a leg, arm or suitcase. This was especially so on the Piccadilly line which we took often. However, never let it be said that British sensibilities do not reign. I began habitually minding the gap or as we say in America, “looking before I leap.” It got so that every time a voice said "mind the gap", I could hear British/American comedian, John Oliver making a fist and yelling, “Mind the gap, Jack! Mind the gap!”

Day to day, we all live in ignorance. We are unaware of some things, not because we knew them once but have forgotten them, but because we never took care (or were able to) learn them at all. We don’t pay attention to the gaps in our lives. Often we find ourselves dropping into gaps that could be perilous. Trapped in emotion, confusion, stubbornness, and projection, we find that we have difficulty functioning at our best or indeed at all. Maybe you find that you should have studied more when in school, or realized that understanding English and the difference between verbs and nouns is important in writing sentences. Faced with a lack in your education, you may have found a need to return to school, to study grammar, to fill that gap.

At times we think we know something until faced with someone who actually does. To fill that gap would require you or me to check our information, correct it if need be, and free ourselves from living with that gap. I know something about astrophysics, but not enough to talk about what I know. It is a gap from time to time I try to fill by reading about the subject. I’m trying to mind the gap. It really is okay to acknowledge that there are gaps in our lives. When conscious of the gaps in understanding, knowing, working, and playing, you and I have a choice. We can fill in the gaps using resources at our disposal, or allow the gaps to remain. If we choose the latter, it is important to mind them. That in and of itself is knowledge of a kind.

Although a history major in college back in the 1960s, my education left me woefully unaware of the early beginnings of racism in the United States. I was exposed to, Jim Crow laws and rules that relegated blacks to second-class citizenship. I was aware that the indigenous population in our country was subjugated, and that the truth about the cowboy and Indian movies I grew up watching is that, the stories were fabricated, favoring the way white Americans viewed other races. Only recently have I thought about the distortive way we tell our history.

I attended grammar and high school with Hispanic and African Americans and had many friends of both races. I really liked and admired many of them. However, when I arrived in high school, I saw them self-select along racial and ethnic lines. Throughout high school I maintained relationships with these friends and saw most of them segregated from white college-bound students. Following high school graduation, to my shame, I lost track of virtually every one of them. I was not conscious of the gap between their non-white world and my white world. Only recently have I identified the gap. Bryan Sirchio, a UCC minister, talked about the, “Doctrine of Discovery”, at a conference I attended recently. I have since the conference been researching that, doctrine. (See Steve Newcomb, Five Hundred Years of Injustice). It all goes back to Christopher Columbus, Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain and Pope Alexander VI (Rodrigo Borgia) in 1493. Alexander VI issued a papal bull allowing Christian people in foreign lands to subjugate non-Christian populations and conquer the land in the name of the European Christian country. Non-Christians were thought to be less than human, and therefore could be enslaved or killed.

In 1823, the United States, in a Supreme Court decision (Johnson v McIntosh), allowed the continuance of the same practices that European (Christians) used in conquering non-Christian peoples. Due to the fact that the American colonies had been established by Christian nations, America could continue adhering to the, Doctrine of Discovery.” The 1823 Supreme Court Decision has not been struck down as far as I am aware. We all know the legacy with which we continue to struggle.

It is no wonder there continues to be racial tension, and continuing distrust among differing races in America. White Americans in the North and the South, practiced a historic learned behavior (prejudice), brought to these shores by “colonizers” over five hundred years ago. We have not yet unlearned the prejudice with which we have grown up.

I struggle deeply in my heart with the continuing distortions of white entitlement and racial divisions everywhere. That gap could be changed as is being done today in Canada through the, “Truth and Reconciliation Commission” which calls on “Church and State”, to publicly, acknowledge complicity in the racism that created the mistreatment and exploitation of Indigenous Peoples.

In the United States, a 2013 documentary called, “Some Girls” examines the way Latina girls see themselves, and follows them as they become aware—and accepting--of their mixed heritages. It presents the positive change that children in America experience when, in learning about their history, they can see themselves as different and beautiful as they are. The documentary examines the history of racism in the Americas, and the subjugation of the populations from which these girls evolved. The whitewashed history, many others and I learned in school didn’t tell the whole story. “Some Girls” is a moving documentary that is beautifully done and humbling to watch.

Today, I’m aware of the troubling gap left in my education, a gap that allowed me to live a long life which left me ignorant of the cultural gap between me and those considered other (non-whites). My premise for closing the gap is, to acknowledge my historic inability to open my eyes (ignorance) and see my neighbor as myself. That five centuries ago, European Christians created the, “Doctrine of Discovery”, and brought us to the place we are now in America is distressing. I am repenting (turning around) of that viewpoint, and am determined to work for justice in regard to my non-white neighbors.

I don’t know about you, but I know about myself, I want to mind the gap. Who knows, maybe I can avoid stumbling if I can maintain and increase my consciousness. What I find myself struggling with, though, is the recurrent voice of scolds telling me to mind the status quo. Telling me to mind my own business and get over the past even though the much of the past lives on in the present. That behavior, makes me angry and resentful. I stop listening to such voices. I know that those voices are often biased by their own life experience. But, I simply cannot hear those voices because of how patronizing their self-righteousness sounds in my ear.

Back to London: The British are great at putting phrases just right. In a pleasant manner they simply and politely remind you to pay attention to the gaps around us. Carry on. Jack

Greetings from Church of Peace 07/12/18

Greetings from Church of Peace!

Summer continues to be busy at COP – whether it’s our neighbors visiting for Loaves & Fishes, the Food Pantry and Salvation Army’s bag lunches – or members volunteering their time with the outdoor landscape or the eBay group, church history and records, regular maintenance work or inspections, improvements, Council meetings, Bazaar planning, etc., etc.! It’s a dynamic place. And Sunday Service brings it all together.

Thank you, as always – to those of you who give your time! And let us know if another of you wants to help.

If you know of a member who is not getting this email with Pastor Jack’s musings, have them get their email address in to the church office: churchofpeaceucc@att.net

A long-time member of Church of Peace has passed away – Willi Melchert. Be sure to remember him and his family in your thoughts and prayers.

The following is Jack’s musing:

Domestication

I have been a minister for many years now. I have observed the church and church folks for well over half my life. Wherever I have served, people have attempted to domesticate me. Parishioners hear me give a message about Jesus healing someone and they want to put me on a board or committee at the hospital. If I have preached good news that is to release captives, feed the hungry, or transform a community, people say, that will cost money. I have made people uncomfortable talking about renewal of body mind and spirit. Sure enough, someone will attempt to stuff a rag in my mouth in order to tame me. I have been told that I am impetuous; speak globally about many issues from war, to women’s rights concerning choice over their bodies, to racism, to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered issues. I have been told not to talk about things like that and yet I read my Bible and it seems I stand in a long tradition of those that believe that is exactly where the Holy One would have me speak. I am known for speaking up when it comes to the marginalized, the little ones, and the last and least.

I think if I was quiet and muted in some fashion, I might have been better liked or something like that. Again though, as I read the Bible, it seems that Jesus is always upsetting the applecart. He tells the righteous, pious and good, that the sick, weak, poor and marginalized need care. Jesus never says that they should pull themselves up by the bootstraps and make their own way. He tells us to feed them.

John the Baptist preached that people should turn around (repent) and be baptized. When he was not domesticated like a house cat, he was beheaded. When John was murdered, the gospel says Jesus came preaching, saying, “The Kingdom of God is near.” He told people to look, see, believe and follow. Then, he too was killed on trumped up charges by religious authorities and the government. Jesus disciples, following his lead, come after him and they too spoke clearly about the nearness of God’s presence in Christ. The religious authorities and the government did the same to them.

Thomas Long said, “When the world rises up to be the world, Jesus rises from the dead.” Today, all too often we come to church and experience domestication. My premise is, where we find domestication, or someone hell-bent on running the show, the gospel rises up. Good news breaks through barriers and resistance because you cannot tame it, channel it or domesticate it. The power of grace will not be domesticated! It will change something because God’s kingdom is near. I hope to talk about this matter on Sunday. I hope to see you then. Jack

Greetings from Church of Peace 07/05/18

Greetings from Church of Peace!

Here’s hoping that everyone enjoyed their 4th of July. And that you’re all handling this summer heat!

Bible Study will begin again on Tuesday – at 10:00.

A big “Thank you!” again, to those helping with watering and weeding, especially through these stressful weather days! We welcome anyone who can help out.

The following is Jack’s musing:

Atypical I became enamored with this word back in 1978 when I took a course titled, “The Atypical Family.” Back in those dark ages the typical family was defined as a family with a mother and father and two point four children. In the course, The Atypical Family, we studied did not fit the typical norm. That especially included families of divorce, families with less than two point four children or more than two point four children. The family system I came from was, you guessed it, atypical. Mother and father divorced in 1949, mother remarried in 1953, three children with an additional child born in 1954. In ever so many ways my family was privileged because my step father, a world war two veteran, had an education and taught math and physics at the high school level. My mother married up. So I was told. In the class I was taking, I became aware of deviations from the statistical norm. In America there were growing numbers of single parent homes, where one or the other parent was absent. There were homes in which one or more children were adopted. Other homes were shattered by violence and forms of abuse and children were growing up in surrogate environments, without biological parents. I was in this exciting class precisely because the world I lived in was atypical and the families around me were atypical, as was my own. However, because of being in this class I became better prepared for the change coming in American society. It was more than I could imagine. I woke up one day recently, thinking about what had become typical. I opened my eyes and found that what was atypical back when I was a graduate student is typical today. Families come in every shape and form. Marriage by definition is changing. Today, the marriage of persons of the same sex is recognized and homosexuality is no longer considered deviant. The courts are involved to a greater degree in protecting children. What a country! Diversity among the population, while a threat to some, is thrilling to others, and I believe is offering the opportunity for everyone to be fully included as part of the whole. Families that were not defined as typical thirty or forty years ago are more the norm today. When I enrolled in this class, my children were eight and four, both daughters. I was a pastor of an evangelical church. The theology of the church no longer fit the person I was emerging to be. It was difficult to fit the atypical crises I encountered weekly into a small box into which all people fit. You were either intact or all right, or you were suspect as not being all right. Life was seen through the prism of this duality that in many ways left one in or out. That system made it possible to, judge, isolate and even condemn those that did not conform to what the system insisted a person be. In that system being atypical was suspect. Maybe that is the human condition. I wanted more. I was talking with my daughter recently. She was interested in what her IQ might be. I told her, and although she is quite gifted and has an above average IQ, she wanted hers to be higher. She is not satisfied that she is okay as she is, atypical herself. She does not understand that we are all atypical in thought, manner and life. Typicality is learned, and observed. She does not quite see that as she is, she is perfect. That is the issue. We are all different, atypical. It is difficult to fit oneself into a box that claims one size fits all. There are forces in the American society that would like to turn back the hands of time. Put society in a bottle that looks like the 1970’s. I for one am pleased that we have choice. Change is natural. Human beings have evolved, maybe in a manner I do not approve of always but they have evolved. A few years back inter-racial marriage was against the law. Today, having parents of different race and religion is seen as an acceptable way to be family. Working through the stressors and barriers to acceptance is the difficulty. Bias seems to be a constant. I love that gay and lesbian children are coming out of the closet at earlier ages. I love that families seem more accepting of their children that do not fit a social norm which their parents may have desired for them. It is refreshing to see that in this country we have the right to express our differences freely and that change is acknowledged. As a pastor, my theology has emerged at a different place today than where it was forty years past. It fits the person I’ve become. I hope you too are on a similar path of consciously welcoming others no matter the path they choose or the state of their atypical personhood. Jack

Greetings from Church of Peace 06/28/18

Greetings from Church of Peace!

Sunday will be a communion Sunday, and the beginning of July. We wish everyone a wonderful Independence Day to commemorate on Wednesday.

Again, we would love to have your help with watering and weeding the church’s outside plants and flower beds. A big “thank you” for all the help thus far from: Harry Lange Cheri Welch Sharon Terrill Denny Smith Diane Reiter Renee Kiefer We really appreciate you!

And a “shout out” too, to our eBay group. They’ve volunteered many hours learning how to list items for sale on eBay. Already their efforts (and your donated items) have generated several hundred dollars, which is going into Church of Peace’s General Fund.

A member of Church of Peace, Carol Moon, passed away on Tuesday evening. Be sure to keep her and her family in your thoughts and prayers.

If you would like to get our monthly newsletter, the Messenger, online – go to www.uccchurchofpeace.org

Here is Jack’s musing:

Giving and Receiving Hospitality

Hospitality begins when we perceive others and ourselves as strangers in a community of welcome. Seeing the presence of the Holy One in the other enables us to welcome Christ into the midst of the community, with all the costs and joys of discipleship. It is there that change can happen. Gentle, attentive, patient and consistent care is necessary to create a community where members are intentional about seeking and welcoming all, especially those whose abilities, experiences, and cultural traditions are different from the mainstream of the current community.

In a community of hospitality, the whole community becomes aware, sensitive, and open to divergent cultural practices. It reaches far beyond the limits of the familiar in our highly mobile world. The whole community transforms both the newcomer and the community itself.

People ask why the church in America is languishing. I believe it is languishing because it refuses to break out of its fascination with the past. It chooses to do what it has always done which in the 21st century no longer works. It could change by doing what the gospels tell us to do, and that is to follow Jesus into the realm of caring, and loving those the world believes are other than we are. A week ago I was in Canada staying with Muslims. I was also among poor indigenous people who gave me and my wife love and grace. With them, we not only found common ground but a mutual love for one another and a common respect for the particularity of our different faith traditions. Together we were able to abandon the common fear we were taught and love one another.

Our fear, keeps us from growing into the new being that at the edge of our consciousness we know is our purpose for existence. When we cast off our fear and see someone we consider to be the other, you and I can love that one as God in Christ loved you and me. For any church to have a future, it must enter the dangerous, unknown territory of change and trust anew the grace, and love of God and neighbor to be our guide.

I look forward to seeing you Sunday morning when we will have the opportunity to participate together in the ongoing revolution of practicing our faith with one another. Hospitality is a key practice in order for the church to not only survive, but to thrive. It must be both given and received. It is the work of a lifetime. Jack

Greetings from Church of Peace 06/21/18

Greetings from Church of Peace,

Summer has finally arrived, after a lovely spring. As we mentioned last week, we will be continuing to have Sunday services in the Fellowship Hall.

We still need volunteers to keep our many beautiful flowers and trees watered throughout the season. Let us know if you can help. (Bring some friends to make the job easy and fun!)

The following is Jack’s Musing:

Broken

The great twentieth century American playwright Eugene O’Neill said, “Man is born broken. He lives by mending. The grace of God is glue!”

O’Neill was born in the late nineteenth century and obviously used dated gender specific language appropriate to his time. Nonetheless, what he said makes sense if you think and have the capacity to look around long enough to perceive the state of people in your sphere of influence. In my world, I am aware of many people that are broken. I would be lying if I suggested that at different times of my own life, I was not broken. I believe, at your own core you may experience being broken from time to time.

It seems not a week goes by that someone in congregations I’ve served, my family, or circle of friends is not facing a personal crisis that they might describe as taking them to the breaking point. Many are simply shattered by the many complexities of life. Over the course of my life I have seen people young and old, at their wits end choose to end life. It is often related to bad choices, bad advice, fear of not having resources to face the future, the embarrassment of believing that as they are they are not enough, or some form of mental, physical or psychic abuse. Overwhelmed by bitterness, anger, fear, slights real or imagined, they find themselves feeling trapped and utterly hopeless. Eugene O’Neill was spot on saying human beings live by mending. I mean, if we cannot mend, why live. I see mending as a human option for most if not all.

When hope is gone, and you cannot see a way around or through the darkness, it is easy to create a catastrophic expectation that everything you feel, see, and know is aligned against you. It is at those moments especially that we wish the veil would be lifted from our eyes and we could see something else. But, locked in a part that has not worked for us, or is no longer working for us, we continue to do the same thing again and again. We could see something else. In many cases, we are too lazy to do what is necessary. What is necessary to create change has been for me, an “internal will” to do so.

For instance, if my friendships are not enhancing and enriching me in my core essence, why don’t I change friendships and begin the process of healing mind, heart and body. It takes work of-course and is not done lightly. The mending happens when I have awakened and do whatever is necessary for my health and wholeness. Actually, I have done this on two occasions. Both times I did it for my mental health and survival.

As my late friend, psychiatrist, and mentor, Bob Henry often said, all you need to do is this, “Reprogram yourself.” I decided what I wanted for myself and looked at how I had been programmed by my family of origin, my church, my schools, and my friends. I looked at the actions in my life and how they affected who I was and decided whether or not I liked the results. When I did not like the results, I changed the programming. It is possible to do. I know many that would just as well stay trapped and continue to moan about their existence, and how others keep them the way they are. They blame health, circumstance, and conditions surrounding themselves. They choose to remain trapped and to continue doing damage to themselves and others.

I ask myself again and again, why? To what end would someone waste possibility. It is not in my power to rescue anyone or make him or her take steps to heal themselves. It is only possible when you or I choose to begin the process. The great news though is there is still time for you and me. O’Neill ends his quote saying, “The Grace of God is glue.” This grace of God is a phrase used lightly in society and often linked to the religious. If you are not religious, it is possible that unexpected mystery can surprise you when you are not looking? That is grace in my minds eye. The grace is in reality, favor you do not deserve. As Roman Catholic writer and theologian John Shea has said, “grace may well wound you from behind.” It may tickle you unexpectedly when you think nothing in the universe and your small place in it can change anything. It may force you to rethink where you are going. Grace, unexpected, is rich, however it is encountered and is the very glue that continually mends life.

I have experienced this grace often. As I continue my life journey, I expect this glue to carry me. I look for it daily and expect it to be the glue that grounds me. I often find myself opening my hands, and saying to the universe, “help.” Thinking about grace seems to open my mind to endless possibilities. As I mend and heal, I can choose to avail myself of the presence of grace or to hide from it. It is a daily choice. I choose to mend the remaining broken places in my life. It is, as I have been heard to say, the work of a lifetime. It is a practice I choose daily (to stay alert, awake, alive). Choose well my friend. Even if you have chosen and nothing made sense, you can choose again. It is only too late if you choose it to be so or you are at the end of your time.

Jack

Greetings from Church of Peace 06/14/18

The Mission Trip group will be back on Saturday. Sunday is Father’s Day! It’s likely going to be a warm (almost summer) day on Sunday. Worship will be held in the Fellowship Hall. And, as decided by the Church Council, worship services will be held there through August.
We continue to need volunteers for watering our many flowers and trees outside the church. We have a sign-up sheet, if you can help. We,ve become aware that Dan Griffin is in the hospital; the family would appreciate your prayers.

The following is Pastor Jack’s “Musing.”

Pedestaling and Patronizing

One of the things I detest is when someone pedestals me. When another person tells me that I am something and puts me on a pedestal I find I am trapped in a role that I’m forced to live up to. It is very uncomfortable in that place.

Conversely, when someone is patronizing to me, they are saying they are better than I am. At that moment I’m being looked down on. They trap me in a place where they want me to feel that I am inadequate or less than they are in their view.

The point is, there is no way for me to relate to those who behave like that. I have included an attached diagram for you to look at. It was created by Karl Olsson in a book titled, ”Meet Me On the Patio.” Dr. Olsson’s theme in that book is, human beings cannot relate to one another if someone separates themself from you based either on being more or less than you or me. His premise is, we can only discover one another based on our common humanity. It happens when we discover one another’s hopes, dreams, loves, passions, pain and sorrow when we can approach each other where there is no threat related to your or my inadequacy. It takes relationships to equal the playing field.

I will play with this theme on Sunday morning and hope to see you at church. The service will be nothing without you. See you then. Jack

Church of Peace UCC 158 S Military Rd Fond du Lac WI 54935 (920)921-8215

Greetings from Church of Peace 06/07/18

Greetings from Church of Peace! By now, many of you will have met our Interim Pastor, Jack Kraaz. You will find him every Sunday celebrating worship at Church of Peace, and soon he will be having regular office hours.
Our Mission Trip group will be spending the whole week at Henderson Settlement in Kentucky. We wish them a wonderful experience! They leave this Sunday morning and will return Saturday.
The following is Jack’s “Musing”:

Some years ago I read Paulo Coelho’s beloved novel, The Alchemist. It is a story about a boy who goes looking for treasure. He discovers that the treasure was right where he began his quest. The story is worth reading again and again. It is a reminder that in each one of us there is a treasure.

For the most part the treasure is buried, forgotten, lost, ignored and sad to say, wasted. I would guess that is why we gave up dreaming at some time in the past. However, I believe that we should all go on a treasure hunt and root around inside of ourselves for the treasure that is our own.

St Paul, in II Corinthians 4, talks about treasure in in earthen vessels or clay pots. I would venture to say that he was talking about you and me and rediscovering the treasure that is in us. This treasure makes all the difference in the world.

As service ended on Sunday, a woman approached me. She reminded me about an old story I attribute to Anthony deMello, a wonderful Jesuit writer and teacher who died in 1987. deMello tells the story of, “a water bearer in India who had two large water pots, each hung on either end of a pole that he carried across his neck. One of the pots had a crack in it, and, while the other pot was perfect and always delivered a full portion of water at the end of the long walk from the stream to the master’s house, the cracked pot arrived only half full. For two full years this went on daily, with the bearer delivering only one and a half pots full of water to his master’s house. The poor cracked pot was ashamed of its own imperfection, and miserable that it was able to accomplish only half of what it had had been made to do. The water bearer felt sorry for the old cracked pot, and, in his compassion, he said, “As we return to the master’s house, I want you to notice the beautiful flowers along the path.” The bearer said to the pot, “Did you notice that there were flowers only on your side of the path, but not on the other pot’s side? That’s because I have always known about your flaw and I took advantage of it. I planted flower seeds on your side of the path, and every day while we walk back from the stream, you’ve watered them. For two years I have been able to pick these beautiful flowers to decorate my master’s table. Without you being just the way you are, he would not have this beauty to grace his house.”

Wherever you are on your path through life, even if your pot is cracked, remember that you have a unique treasure in yourself and that the world would be less if you do not share it.

I hope to see you this coming Sunday when I will play with the theme of “Belonging.”

Jack

Greetings from Church of Peace 05/31/18

Hello,

Pastor Jack and I plan to start up again the Thursday Letter that you have become accustomed to. Today he is sending what he calls one of his "Musings." Barbara

Mr. Rogers

“Love isn’t a state of perfect caring. It is an active noun like struggle. To Love someone is to strive to accept that person exactly the way he or she is, right here and right now.” Fred Rogers

The most difficult thing to do in life is to love another human being in the present moment. So much of what is done in the so-called business of life is the exact opposite. To love another being in our culture is counter intuitive. Our culture teaches us to be competitive, domineering, and strong and not consider the feelings of others. And, often we don’t. Too bad about others not like us, they are weak, flawed and not like us. So the story goes.

I remember a story about play. One group of kids was told to play kick ball with the goal of one child winning and the rest losing. Following the near riot the strongest kid won. That is as it should be the teachers said. Someone wanted to know how a group of mentally handicapped kids would do with a game like this, so they gave rudimentary instructions and told the kids to play. These kids did not compete and pick one another off. They took turns being it, so everyone won. Nobody was kicked out of the game.

Have you wondered what the world would be like if we practiced not competing with one another, but rather did all in our power to make sure everybody wins. It would change how I viewed sports. It would change how I treat the garbage man, the person checking me out at the grocery store, the barista getting my coffee, etc. I know that you may be thinking, this is an absurd and surely dangerous way to think. Thinking like that would throw the way we do business out of whack. What would happen to capitalism? What would happen to greed? What would happen if I didn’t need anything from you? What would happen if I told you my secrets? What would happen if competing technologies aided one another in the energy sector?

I think it might become possible to not be afraid of tomorrow. Maybe the gene for manipulating others would disappear from the race. Maybe we could tell one another the truth and help one another by doing what we tell people to do in church like loving one another as each of us is.

I know it is a pipe dream. Most of us are comfortable with political lies, with living with our heads in the sand. Why not take a chance and lift them out of the sand and see what is going on. I want to try loving you as you are. I want to play with you, and learn from you.

I finished a service a couple years back and spoke to a caregiver for the physically and mentally disabled. The person thanked me, and indirectly the entire congregation I was serving for welcoming with no judgment the folks he brought with him to service. He said that he felt that we accepted these special needs people as they are and sad to say, we were the only church in the area that did. I liked being like this and wish to expand it to other areas of my life.

I have often wondered about loving others. I mean how to teach others to become more loving, caring and gracious because it is counter cultural in our world. Lately I tell people to just try an hour not competing. Try just an hour to love someone as he or she is, then move that up time wise. It may feel like you are faking it. Soon with practice you may find yourself just doing that. At that moment when you forget what it is you are doing, you will become conscious that you are practicing an alternative way of being.

I know, I have so much programming to change to do what Mr. Rogers taught as basic. I guess I have to lace up my shoes and go outside and practice a bit. Jack

Greetings from Church of Peace 05/24/18

Greetings from Church of Peace!

Sunday’s service will be delightfully full of music. Not only will Roger be at the organ and piano, but we will have vocal music from Syncerity: our daughter Ellie, two friends, and Jim. Our son Andrew will play the bass for one of the songs. This will be a service of thanksgiving and blessing. Following the service (which begins at 8:45 a.m.), there will be a reception in the Fellowship Hall.

Next Wednesday evening, you have the opportunity to meet and greet your new minister, Rev. Jack Kraaz. Please come to the church at 6:30 p.m. to welcome him.

This is the last Thursday greeting which you will receive from us. We give thanks to God for our happy memories of time with you, for each word of encouragement and support which we received during our time together, and for the privilege of sharing in your lives. May God bless you all with peace and joy.

That’s the news from Church of Peace.

We’ll see you in church! Pastors Jenny and Jim

A prayer for today: O God our help in ages past, our hope for years to come, I pray that you will make your presence known in and through my life today. Show me how to praise you with acts of Christian service. Bless our church with ever-growing faithfulness. Amen.

Greetings from Church of Peace 05/17/18

Greetings from Church of Peace!

Fire and wind – it is Pentecost this Sunday and the sanctuary is all set in its fiery red cloths. Please wear red if you have it and join in the celebration of the birthday of the church. Three young men will be confirmed. The choir will sing. It will be a joyful hour of worship, beginning at 8:45 a.m.

Betty Hall will be having surgery in Madison tomorrow. Please remember her in your prayers.

This Sunday is Faith Formation Sunday and people of all ages are invited to participate in a trip to Christo Rey Ranch. The bus will leave Church of Peace at 10:00 a.m. and return at noon. The cost is $5.00 per person. Join us as we enjoy animals from the Bible and grow in Christian friendship.

On Tuesday the Golden Fellowship Spring Trip to Mayville will begin at 9:00 a.m. It includes a tour of Metalcraft of Mayville, lunch at Cooper Shop Restaurant in Keekoske, and time at the Horicon Marsh Visitor Center. We’ll return at 3:00. The cost is $12.00 per person. Please sign up on the bulletin board.

That’s the news from Church of Peace.

We’ll see you in church! Pastors Jenny and Jim

A prayer for today: Open my heart wide today, O God, to receive your inpouring of love and peace. Then I will be able to live faithfully, sharing that love and peace with others. I ask your special blessing upon Betty Hall as she undergoes surgery tomorrow. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

Greetings from Church of Peace 05-10-18

Greetings from Church of Peace!

Sunday is Mother’s Day and we will be remembering our mothers with love. The choir will sing a special anthem. The sermon will be Pastor Jenny’s “motherly” words to the people of Church of Peace.

Ken Meyn is a patient at St. Agnes Hospital. Please remember him in prayer.

Want to help our food pantry? This Saturday afternoon we need volunteers to sort the food that Church of Peace will receive from the Postal Carriers’ food drive. Please come to the church about 1:00 p.m. if you can help. Thanks!

This is the last Sunday of traditional Sunday School for the season (10:00 a.m.) We salute our teachers for another successful year. Next week, May 20th, a Family Faith Formation event will begin at 10:00. It is a bus trip to Cristo Rey Ranch to see animals from the Bible. The cost of the trip is $5.00. We will return at noon. Permission slips are needed for children whose parents are not going to attend.

Tuesday, May 22nd is the final Golden Fellowship event of the spring. We will be going to Mayville to tour the Metalcraft factory, eat lunch at the Cooper Shop Restaurant, and then visit the Horicon Marsh Education and Visitor Center. The bus leaves here at 9:00 a.m. and returns at about 3:00 p.m. The cost is $12.00 plus your lunch. Please sign up soon!

That’s the news from Church of Peace.

We’ll see you in church! Pastors Jenny and Jim

A prayer for today: Gentle and powerful God, I need your help today. I need your blessings of wisdom and guidance, peace and love. Please shine within my life. Bless Ken Meyn with continued healing and increasing strength. I pray remembering Jesus. Amen.

Greetings from Church of Peace 05-03-18

Greetings from Church of Peace!

Sunday’s service will bring us Holy Communion in the pews, lots of uplifting music, and a message on Jesus feeding the 5,000. Join us at 8:45 a.m. for this inspiring worship service.

A week from this coming Saturday – on May 12th -- the postal carriers will be collecting food all over town. Church of Peace will be the recipients of a generous amount of food. We need help in two ways. (1) We need volunteers to drive around town, collecting the bags and bringing them to the post office. Can you be assistance in this way? If so, please call Shari Schultz at 924-4588 for further information. (2) We need volunteers to come to Church of Peace at 1:00 p.m. on that Saturday and help sort food. If you can do this, just show up. The work will take a couple of hours and is not strenuous. Thank you!

Looking ahead:

Sunday, May 20th 10:00 a.m. – noon -- Intergenerational Faith Formation bus trip to Cristo Rey Ranch. Join us as we enjoy touring the farm and seeing animals from the Bible stories. The cost is $5.00 per person. More information will be sent home with Sunday School students this week. The whole congregation is invited to join us.

Tuesday, May 22nd 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. -- Golden Fellowship Trip to Mayville Metalcraft and Horicon Marsh State Wildlife Area. $12.00 per person covers bus ride and entry fee. Check your Messenger for more information. Sign up in the narthex.

That’s the news from Church of Peace.

We’ll see you in church! Pastors Jenny and Jim

A prayer for today: Lead me in your paths today, O God, so that I can be a faithful disciple of Jesus. Fill me with your joy and peace so that I can spread joy and peace in the world. Amen.

Greetings from Church of Peace & Rummage Sale News 04-25-18

Greetings from Church of Peace!

Help! We need rummage! This week our Ladies of Peace have been busy setting up the rummage sale. We are a little sparse in the clothing department. We can use other stuff too. This is the time to do some quick spring cleaning of your home and closet. If you have items to share, please bring them in today (Wednesday) or tomorrow so they can be sorted and priced for Friday and Saturday’s sale. Baked goods are also welcomed. Then come back and shop: Friday 8-6, Saturday 8-2. Thanks!

Worship this Sunday features a dramatic story from the Book of Acts. Join us for this time of song, prayer, and Word. Worship begins at 8:45 a.m.

That’s the news from Church of Peace.

We’ll see you in church! Pastors Jenny and Jim

A prayer for today: Thank you, dear God, for this day which is full of possibilities for service in Christ’s name. Please open my heart to your nearness and love as I try to live faithfully for Jesus. Amen.

Greetings from Church of Peace 04-19-18

Greetings from Church of Peace,

Worship this Sunday promises to be interesting and inspirational. Join us at 8:45 for a time of prayer, praise, and song. We will be honoring the Ladies of Peace who are celebrating their 115th anniversary of Christian service. Sunday School will be held as usual at 10:00 a.m.

Church of Peace member Kathleen Burg’s husband Dennis died this past weekend. Please remember Kathleen when you pray.

Sunday night at 6:30 p.m. the Mission Trippers will gather for an informational meeting.

Golden Fellowship is gathering on Tuesday, April 24th to hear Officer Erik Foster from the Fond du Lac Police Department tell us about scams. You are welcomed to join us. Please sign up ahead of time so there is plenty of food for lunch.

It’s rummage sale time! You can bring your donations of clothes and stuff to the church during office hours (9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.) all this week or next week Monday-Thursday. Baked goods are needed and can be brought in Thursday of next week. The sale is Friday/Saturday, April 27th and 28th. Set-up help will be needed every day next week.

Do you find the prayer journeys in worship bring you close to God? Prayer journey CD’s will be available in the narthex after worship for $5.00. All moneys collected will be donated to the General Fund.

That’s the news from Church of Peace.

We’ll see you in church! Pastors Jenny and Jim

A prayer for today: Thank you, dear God, for this day and the opportunities it brings me to love and serve you. Please bless Kathleen Burg with your sustaining peace. Amen.

Greetings from Church of Peace 04-12-18

Greetings from Church of Peace!

Rain, snow, a wintry mix – we might get it all this coming weekend. Come join us at Church of Peace for several heart-warming activities, no matter what the weather is like outside.

Sunday morning worship will begin at 8:45. It will feature a story from the early church as told in the Biblical book of Acts. We’ll celebrate the 115 years of ministry by our Ladies of Peace. Join us as we sing, pray, and grow in faith together.

Plans for the Faith Formation Event on Sunday have been modified. After talking with the farm manager at Cristo Rey Ranch, it was decided to postpone the trip until next month when the weather will be more cooperative. So this Sunday we will meet at 10:00 a.m. in the sanctuary for a time of inter-generational fun. We’ll learn together about the church as the Body of Christ as we do crafts and play instructive games, then worship together. A pizza lunch will follow. We’ll be done around 11:30 a.m. People of all ages are invited. No regular Sunday School will be held on this Sunday.

Saturday will be a wonderful evening at Church of Peace. The Lakeland University Choir will join us for a potluck supper (at 5:00 p.m.) followed by a concert at 7:00 p.m. There is no charge for the potluck (chicken will be provided; please bring a dish to pass) and a free-will offering will be taken at the concert.

That’s the news from Church of Peace.

We’ll see you in church! Pastors Jenny and Jim

A prayer for today: I open my heart to you, O God. Please make a home within it. Fill me with your love and peace. Show me how to bless others as you have blessed me. Amen.

Greetings from Church of Peace 04-05-18

Greetings from Church of Peace!

Thankfully, our Easter joy is not based on weather! We will continue to praise and thank God during Sunday’s service. Todd Whittaker will provide special music. Join us at 8:45 a.m. for this time of inspiration and renewal.

Coming up:

Saturday, April 14th the Lakeland College Choir will present a concert at Church of Peace at 7:00 p.m. Prior to the concert, at 5:00 p.m., the congregation will provide a potluck supper for the singers. We hope that many members of the church family will participate. A sign-up sheet for the potluck is available on the bulletin board.

Sunday, April 15th, the whole congregation is invited to join in a Family Faith Formation field trip to Cristo Rey Ranch. The bus will leave the church at 10:00 a.m. and return about noon. The cost is $5.00 per person. Children may attend without a parent if they have a permission slip. There will be no regular Sunday School on that day.

That’s the news from Church of Peace.

We’ll see you in church! Pastors Jenny and Jim

A prayer for today: Warm my heart, O God, with your gifts of peace and joy. Lead me in the paths of faithfulness. Shine through my life into the world. Amen.

Holy Week Greetings from Church of Peace 03-29-18

Greetings from Church of Peace on this Maundy Thursday!

Here is the run-down on what is happening this week at your church:

 Tonight: Maundy Thursday service at 7:00 p.m. Holy Communion will be served in the pews.  Tomorrow: Good Friday service at 7:00 p.m. There will be a chancel drama. Special music by Pastor Jim.  Sunday: Easter services at 8:00 a.m. and 10:00 a.m. Holy Communion will be celebrated at the altar. The choir will sing at both services.

Between Easter services the youth will be sponsoring a breakfast. Please support our mission trippers by attending and donating generously.

We know of no one who is hospitalized at this time.

Parents of youth: the 6-12th graders will be gathering at the church on Saturday morning at 9:30 a.m. to prepare for the Easter breakfast.

That’s the news from Church of Peace.

We’ll see you in church! Pastors Jenny and Jim

A prayer for today: Draw me closer to you, O God, as I walk with Jesus through this Holy Week. Fill me with awe at the faithfulness and love which he showed. Show me how to live following his example. And on Sunday, fill me with pure Easter joy. Amen.

Greetings from Church of Peace!

Greetings from Church of Peace!

“Modern Life” – that’s tonight’s topic at our Lenten service. Join us at 6:30 for a time of renewal, inspiration, and laughter.

Sunday is Palm Sunday. The Worship Enhancement Team will have transformed our sanctuary into a palm-filled wonderland and worshippers will be invited to take a palm home. This service is full of triumph and will lift our hearts. Join us at 8:45 a.m.

Terri Hoffman is a patient in the hospital. Please pray that God’s healing blessing will be upon her.

On Sunday we will receive our One Great Hour of Sharing offering. This annual offering provides disaster relief throughout the year as well as funding development projects for the world’s people who suffer in severe poverty. Let us open our hearts and give generously to this urgent ministry.

Looking ahead:

Next Thursday, March 29th, we will gather to remember the Last Supper of Jesus. We’ll have communion served in the pews. This will be a deeply meaningful service. It will begin at 7:00 p.m.

Friday, March 30th our sanctuary will be bare and our hearts heavy as we gather to commemorate the death of our Lord. Join us at 7:00 p.m. for a time of remembrance.

Easter Sunday is April 1st this year (no foolin’). We will worship at 8:00 a.m. and 10:00 a.m. with altar communion at each service. The choir will sing at both services as well. The mission trip youth will offer a breakfast between the services.

That’s the news from Church of Peace.

We’ll see you in church! Pastors Jenny and Jim

A prayer for today: Strengthen my heart today, O God, with your gifts of hope and faith. Fill me with a deep desire to be a disciple and show me ways to serve you. Grant me wisdom and guidance in the choices that I make. I pray that your healing light will shine upon Terri Hoffman, returning her to health and strength. Amen.

Greetings from Church of Peace 03-14-18

Greetings from Church of Peace! Tonight we gather at 7:00 p.m. to look with the eyes of faith at another facet of human life – aging. The comics of Pickles will make us laugh and the inspiration of Scripture will fill our hearts with hope. Join us – you’ll be so glad that you did!

Sunday’s service brings us a chancel drama, beautiful music, and times of heart-warming prayer. The service will begin at 8:45 a.m.

It’s time for another Family Faith Formation event! We will meet from 10:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. for crafts, activities, worship, and lunch. The theme this month is prayer.

Nancy and Al Pahnke are both in the hospital. Please pray that God’s healing touch will be upon both of them.

That’s the news from Church of Peace.

We’ll see you in church! Pastors Jenny and Jim

A prayer for today: O God, I look to you today for guidance, wisdom, and spiritual energy as I go about my life. Please bless me with an awareness of your nearness and fill me with your peace. I pray that Nancy and Al Pahnke will be touched by your healing love. Amen.

Greetings from Church of Peace 03-07-18

Greetings from Church of Peace!

Today is a Wednesday in Lent which means you have an opportunity to be spiritually refreshed this evening. Join us at 7:00 p.m. in the Fellowship Hall for a time of song, prayer, Scripture, and commentary on day-to-day life with our friends from the Pickles comic strip. You’ll be glad you came.

Sunday’s service will deal with the perennial human problem of change. Come learn from the Scriptures how to deal with the ever-present reality of adjusting to new situations. The choir will sing and there will be a prayer journey. The service will begin at 8:45 a.m.

Gene Willis is in the hospital. Please remember him in prayer.

Next Saturday night, when you go to bed, be sure to set your clock ahead one hour. You wouldn’t want to be late to church!

See you in church! Pastors Jenny and Jim

A prayer for today: Pour the sunshine of your love into my heart today, O God, so that I might feel your nearness and shine with your love. Open me to your guidance. I pray that Gene Willis will experience your healing power in his life as he recovers from surgery. I pray remembering Jesus. Amen.