Layout Image

Archive for Pastor’s Message

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

 

FOURTH ADVENT SUNDAY, DECEMBER 21 ~ LOVE

Carolyn will share the Message Love:  The Things We Do for Love“. Reading from our Tradition is “Isaiah 7:10-16. The PVCC Choir will be singing the Anthem Fum, Fum, Fum –Trad/Parker/Shaw. One Piano Duet by Greg Yarnell & Judy Harrison: “O Come, All Ye Faithful.”  Solo by Liz Dary: “ My Grown-up Christmas List.”

 

CAROLYN’S CORNER

Each year in December we hear “Keep Christ in Christmas.”  With statues of Santa kneeling at the manger or holding a baby wrapped in a blanket, “Keep Christ in Christmas” has become a big retail market!

There’s a better way to imagine what it really means to “Keep Christ in Christmas.”  Speaker, author, consultant, and Coach Steve Maraboli puts it this way:

 “Want to keep Christ in Christmas? Feed the hungry, clothe the naked, forgive the guilty, welcome the unwanted, care for the ill, love your enemies, and do unto others as you would have done unto you.”

      That takes more preparation, planning, and purpose than it takes to buy a Santa statue. My prayer during the season of Advent is that we find ways to keep Christ in our Christmas celebrations: behaving Christ-like as we shop, party, and celebrate. My hope is that we would be truly generous givers, as you find ways to give those gifts that Steve Maraboli lists, and also that we be generous with our time to actually do the things Steve Maraboli lists. But be careful about this. You could end up keeping Christ in Christmas all year long!

Grace and Peace,

Pastor Carolyn

THE THIRD ADVENT SUNDAY, DECEMBER 14

As we light the Third Advent candle we pray for Joy. Rev. Carolyn Schwarz will share the Message

Joy: For All People “. Reading from our Tradition is “Luke 2:8-20 “. The PVCC Choir will be singing the Anthem “The Babe of Bethlehem -Trad/Coates.                      

CAROLYN’S CORNER

The second Sunday of Advent we light the candle of peace to express our yearning and prayer for peace – true shalom. The reading for this Sunday is Isaiah 11:1-10, which gives us a most beautiful description of peace:

The wolf shall live with the lamb,

the leopard shall lie down with the kid,

the calf and the lion and the fatling together,

and a little child shall lead them.

I read a devotion recently, which reflects this vision of God’s peace.

POWER AND VULNERABILITY

In God’s peace, power and vulnerability lie together. This peace does not ignore conflict or difference; rather in this peace the vulnerability in power and the power of vulnerability become companions. Neither threatens the other; instead the friendship of power and vulnerability transforms expected hostilities into deep, deep peace. When we read these ancient words, we can feel it: This peace is what God means for our lives.

Prayer:

Spirit of the Lord, disciple us in the ways that lead to your holy mountain. We pray now for our enemies, whom we name in our hearts. We pray for ourselves, that we may transform our hostilities and fears into an openness to your possibilities. Where there seems to be no way, help us find the way. Amen

Pamela D. Couture

Found in Alive Now

Grace and Peace,

Pastor Carolyn

CAROLYN’S CORNER

There is a deep spiritual hunger within all of us. It is a hunger of having known once, long before, a very precious truth that has somehow slipped from our grasp. It is our human condition and so we spend a lot of time groping on our hands and knees in the dark, hoping to find a light that will reveal the meaning of life. Other times we chase after whatever earthly treasure that might fill the void. Whether chasing or groping, we yearn for a lantern to illuminate our path. What we need is Emmanuel, the Light of the World, to come to us and reveal truth and meaning. And that perhaps is what Advent is about. Advent is the season that reminds us that the earthly trinkets we mistake for treasure we’ve been seeking isn’t the true treasure after all.   The treasure we seek is found in Christ who is our Hope, Peace, Joy and Love.

This season I will have a sermon series based on the traditional Advent Candles.

Advent 1, November 30: Hope Advent 2, December 7:  Peace Advent 3, December 14: Joy Advent 4: December 21: Love

Please worship with your family at Pine Valley this Advent as we re-discover the treasures of Hope, Peace, Joy and Love. Grace and Peace,

Pastor Carolyn

CAROLYN’S CORNER

The Apostle Paul tells us, “Be thankful in all things.” When I count my blessings I am thankful for the Thanksgiving Special Day Offering of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). The Thanksgiving Offering provides direct support to Disciples colleges, universities and theological institutions. Disciples have a long history of post-secondary and theological education. This offering provides a direct connection to 14 colleges or universities, 3 seminaries and 4 seminary foundations/divinity houses. Gifts from the Disciples Mission Fund Thanksgiving Offering continue a Disciples tradition of developing leaders for our communities and the church.

The offering has directly helped me because it supports Phillips Theological Seminary where I was able to prepare for ordained ministry. At Phillips my theological understanding enlarged in exciting ways. It felt like a door was thrown wide open. Not only did I receive excellent preparation, but it also changed my whole life. So many people have been aided for ordained ministry as well, including Robin and Leigh. And because of the help given to us for excellent, well grounded scholarly preparation the long term effects go to help the churches we serve as well.

So join me in counting the Thanksgiving Special Day Offering as a blessing in our lives by supporting it as we receive our offering this week.

Grace and Peace,

Pastor Carolyn

CAROLYN’S CORNER

This is an exciting week with the Supreme Court ruling that has made Marriage Equality legal in the state of Kansas!

A group of clergy in support of Marriage Equality met Wednesday morning at Pine Valley. I was excited by the participation. There were 8 altogether who met. Other clergy dropped by later in the morning who showed interest and support.

The purpose and goal of the group has morphed dramatically with before and after the justice decision was made thus shaping what would happen. So this is what will happen. There will be a giant wedding at the East Entrance to the Court House on Monday at 5 p.m. for couples who have had Holy Unions and who have applied for licenses. We will have a banner that says “Wichita Clergy Supporting Marriage Equality.” And we will also have fliers available for future weddings. The flier lists clergy both supportive and able to do weddings. The clergy that met encourage our congregations to join in this wedge blade moment. We would like as many to join us to either marry or to support the couples who do marry! There will be a huge reception following the wedding. So!!! If any of Pine Valley members would like to come, please join the wedding on Monday at 5 p.m. at the Courthouse.

Grace and Peace,

Pastor Carolyn

JOIN US ON SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 9, 2014 AT PINE VALLEY

Rev. Carolyn Schwarz will share the Message ~ Invictus

Reading from our tradition ~ Matthew 25:1-13                               

The PVCC Choir will be singing the Anthem ~ Lift Your Light - McDonald.

CAROLYN’S CORNER

I have a friend on Facebook who is doing a new challenge for November. It’s called #ThanksLiving 2014. Each day you take a picture to fit the theme of the day. For instance, Day 1 is gratitude. Day 3 is receive. Day 6 is serve. For Day 1 my friend posted a photo of a candle on a table. He was grateful for light and warmth. For Day 3 he posted a photo of the stoles he received for his ordination.

I’m not nearly as elaborate as my friend this year. I leave the photography to Ken. Yet my friend’s ThanksLiving practice encourages me to remember to count my blessings every day. If I was taking a picture for Day 3 – receive – it would be a picture of the wonderful gift basket you gave Ken and me for my first Sunday. Thank you for the bottles of wine, so we can “christen” our new home and for the gift memberships to the Botanica and to the Wichita Art Museum. I’ve never had a quilt made in my honor. It is beautiful. I couldn’t think of a more perfect gift! I count you, the people of Pine Valley on my list as I count my ThanksLiving blessings!

Grace and Peace,

Pastor Carolyn