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Archive for Pastor’s Message

WORSHIP SERVICE ON SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 15 ~

Pastor Carolyn will share the message titled “Let’s Just Stay Here!”. Reading from our tradition “Mark 9:2-9″. Special music to be sung by Jeff Dary “Silence, Frenzied, Unclean Spirit”.

TRANSFIGURATION SUNDAY

What is a transfigured life? It’s about glory and transformation. It’s an invitation to view in our world the “thin places” that allow us to experience the divine. The transfiguration of Jesus occurs in such a “thin place.” Traditionally, mountaintops are seen as places of revelation. They are literally and also figuratively, close to heaven. This Sunday (February 15th) is Transfiguration Sunday where we hear a story from the early church of when Jesus invites 3 of his closest disciples to see an alternate reality. In the story, divine light shines through Jesus. The story of Jesus’ transfiguration is hard to wrap our rational nature around, because it’s so wildly imaginative. And yet, it invites us to look for “more” in ourselves and others. It invites us to look for the divine in nature or other people, and revelations in the commonplace.

 

Transfiguration invites us to consider how Jesus reveals God’s deepest nature and the deepest nature of the universe. This story is not based on scientific truth, or on a reality that can be objectively verified; it is the meaning that shines through the world of atoms, particles, rocks, and sunsets. The energy of love permeates all things. Only our vision prevents us from seeing the infinity of all things. God’s glory is veiled by our failure to look deeply into life settling for the surface rather than the inner life and the light of all things.

 

While we are careful to not invoke supernatural violations of cause and effect, we can nevertheless look at Transfiguration as a way to experience the miraculous in everyday life. We can affirm that faith and prayer can shape our lives for the best and commit ourselves to see holiness in every situation and bring out the holy in others, especially the vulnerable and marginalized.

Grace and Peace,

Pastor Carolyn

CAROLYN’S CORNER

The following are wonderful words of wisdom from one of my favorite Christian Mystics – Henri Nouwen. May your week be blessed!

“Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always try to be kind to each other and to everyone else.” – 1 Thessalonians 5: 15 (NIV)

Becoming Kind

Kindness is a beautiful human attribute. When we say, “She is a kind person” or “He surely was kind to me,” we express a very warm feeling. In our competitive and often violent world, kindness is not the most frequent response. But when we encounter it we know that we are blessed. Is it possible to grow in kindness, to become a kind person? Yes, but it requires discipline. To be kind means to treat another person as your “kin,” your intimate relative. We say, “We are kin” or “He is next of kin.” To be kind is to reach out to someone as being of “kindred” spirit.

Here is the great challenge: All people, whatever their color, religion, or sex, belong to humankind and are called to be kind to one another, treating one another as brothers and sisters. There is hardly a day in our lives in which we are not called to this.

Grace and Peace,

Pastor Carolyn

WORSHIP SERVICE ON SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 8 ~

Carolyn will share the message titled “Gift Give Away”. Reading from our tradition “1 Corinthians 12:3b-13 “. A Skit “The Gift Exchange” will be presented by a group of Pine Valley Members.

CAROLYN’S CORNER

Traditionally, Disciple of Christ churches receive their Week of Compassion offerings the last two weeks of February. Week of Compassion is the relief, refugee and development mission fund of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada. Week of Compassion serves to equip and empower disciples to ease suffering of peoples through disaster response, humanitarian aid, sustainable development and the promotion of mission opportunities.

Fifty percent of Week of Compassion dollars goes to emergency relief; 25% goes to sustainable development; 8% goes to immigration and refugee ministries; 8-10% goes to Disciple of Christ mission partners, mission stations and volunteer work trip grants; 6-8% is for administrative costs. Disciples, through Week of Compassion, have been present in the rebuilding processes in Joplin, Moore Oklahoma and Greensburg following tornadoes.

This year we are incorporating Coin Boxes in our Week of Compassion appreciation. This Sunday, February 1, coin boxes will be handed out along with devotional calendars to take home. You are invited to place coins in the boxes as directed by the calendars, or perhaps place the coins you’ve received during the day. These coins will be collected through February then bring them back on February 22nd as part of Pine Valley’s special offering for Week of Compassion.

Grace and Peace,

Pastor Carolyn

CAROLYN’S CORNER

The newly formed group, “Wichita Clergy for Equality” met last Thursday at Pine Valley Christian Church. Our guest was Kerry Wilks from the organization – Equality Kansas: The mission of Equality Kansas is “to end discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, and to fight for full equality and civil rights for all LGBT Kansans.” Kerry seemed very thankful for the interest of our new clergy group.

 

Amongst the needs of Equality Kansas is to know which clergy and which churches support their mission. This is very important as it can be expected that legalized discrimination bills (“religious freedom” bills) will be introduced again in this year’s legislative session. In the needs discussed at the meeting is the willingness of church members who are willing to make phone calls and write letters concerning legalized discrimination. Kerry will give notice to the churches as the need arises. If you are willing to make a phone call or write a letter please contact me or the church office so we can make a database and be in touch the most expeditious way as possible.

 

Remember to pray for justice in Kansas.

 

Grace and Peace,

Pastor Carolyn

CAROLYN’S CORNER

A Prayer for 2015

Here we go again, God.

Another year begins with its new resolutions

replacing last year’s broken, unfulfilled ones.

Give me strength and resolve to set realistic goals

and follow through on them.

 

More importantly,

please do something about this broken, suffering world,

where politicians work for corporate sponsors rather than public good,

where the wounds of institutional racism continue to fester and bleed,

where people justify killing their neighbors in your holy name,

where the world heats and threatens to incinerate as leaders cower.

 

Ignite in others and me a fiery compassion.

Renew our hope in your revolutionary call to world transformation.

Pull us away from mindless, distracting devices,

and guide us on your road of justice.

Make 2015 a year of the real peace you showed us in Jesus. Amen.

Found in “The Thoughtful Christian”

Grace and Peace,

Pastor Carolyn

SUNDAY, JANUARY 11 ~

Carolyn will share the Message “Baptism and New Beginnings”. Reading from our Tradition “Mark 1:4-11″. PVCC Men’s Trio will be singing the Special Music “We Three Kings”.

CAROLYN’S CORNER

The following devotion was found in “Still Speaking.” It is an appropriate reflection as we celebrate New Year’s Eve today. It is written by Maren Tirabassi. Blessings for a happy 2015.

New Year’s Eve

“May God send you help from the sanctuary, and give you support from Zion.” – Psalm 20 Where are you on New Year’s Eve? I’m in an AA meeting, one of God’s strong sanctuaries, even though they are often located in church basements. Some of you will be there, too, later today – it’s the kind of holiday that is hard to take “one day at a time.” Others of you will be in Watch Night services, Weight Watcher meetings, airplanes headed back to college, Alzheimer’s Care units, dialysis chairs, homeless shelters, online with others leaving situations of domestic violence. Some of you will go to a party and others will watch the ball drop in Times Square with a single good friend.  Psalm 20 is a prayer that asks, “God grant your heart’s desire and fulfill all your plans, that we may shout in joy over your victories.” Most personal victories come less from tomorrow’s resolutions than today’s good sanctuaries of physical, emotional, financial and spiritual support. Sanctuaries are found where one or more are gathered to care, to help, and then to just shout in joy for another’s success. Sanctuaries are found where God is present in community.

Recognize the sanctuaries in all their diversity. Plan to be in one when you need help; plan to be in one when someone needs you.

Prayer  God, grant us the humility to seek sanctuary, the compassion to offer it to others—no matter how different they may be from us, and the faith to know that you are always the source of serenity, courage and wisdom. Amen.

Grace and Peace,

Pastor Carolyn

CAROLYN’S CORNER

      The Special Christmas Offering is designated for the Regions of the Christian Church.  When we watched the video on Sunday it lifted up ways that the offering is used.  Church camp – of course.  Tiffany is now famous because she was included in the video.  We fully appreciate how the offering helps with church camp from the many years of sending children and youth to camp.  The offering also helps with the Search and Call process.  Again, we fully appreciate this as Pine Valley has just gone through the process in calling me as your new pastor.  So we fully understand what this means.  But then the video mentions that the region is there to help provide pastoral care to churches and ministers.  What does this look like exactly?

      I have had firsthand experience with this one in recent months.  My brother was diagnosed with 2 brain aneurysms in June of 2013.  The aneurysms were very dangerous, and the hospital who gave him the news didn’t give a positive prognosis. They surgically wouldn’t touch him, because it was beyond their capacity.  They suggested that my brother get another opinion.  Terry worked in the legal department for Sprint in Overland Park and had a working relationship with the attorneys in Reston Virginia.  One of these attorneys happened to be dating a doctor in neurology at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore.  She told her now fiancé about Terry.  They were able to help.   Terry never married and did not have children, so I became his power of attorney.  Through providence I had Sabbatical time lined up while Terry was to have surgery, so Ken and I ended up spending a lot of time with him in Baltimore.  But the first surgery was scheduled before Sabbatical began.  I had to use vacation, but had every intention of preaching that Sunday.  I was preparing my sermon from Terry’s hospital room, when his condition worsened and he spiked a fever of over 106.  This was on a Friday.  I called my Regional Minister, Rev. Lee Parker.  He stepped in immediately as pastor for me and for my church.  He preached for me with very short notice.

      Terry successfully went through his surgeries.  He was on the road to recovery, but at the end of January last year he had a cerebral hemorrhage and was medi-flown from Richmond where he was staying with Ken and I to Johns Hopkins.  We rushed to be with him in ICU.  Again I was writing my sermon from a hospital room when his condition worsened.  Once more I called Lee, and once more he was pastor to me and the church.  He stepped in with short notice to preach for me again.  Sorrowfully, my brother did not survive that last incident and passed away 10 days later.  His funeral was at First Christian in Newton.  The Regional Minister for the Christian Church in Kansas, Rev. Paxton Jones, came to Terry’s funeral.  When I returned to Virginia, Lee co-officiated  the memorial service at Seventh Street Christian Church for my brother.

      This is what it means for me when the region serves as pastor to the pastors and the churches, and I am very grateful to the regions of both Kansas and Virginia for the care given to me and to my family and my former church in a time of acute crisis.  And I am grateful for this offering that supports the ministry of the Regions.  It truly matters.

Grace and Peace,

Pastor Carolyn