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Archive for Pastor’s Message

CAROLYN’S CORNER

The following updates come from Week of Compassion following the earthquakes in Nepal:

 

“In the last two weeks there have been over 150 tornadoes throughout the United States, a 50% increase from the previous year.  The tornadoes have caused significant damage in many communities from Texas through South Dakota and Iowa, as well as in Colorado and Arkansas.  In addition to tornadoes, severe storms have also hit many of these areas, especially in Oklahoma.  Floods, hail, and heavy snow have impacted communities, and with heavy rain projected to stay, flooding will continue to be a threat in the next few weeks.

 

Week of Compassion has been in contact with local pastors and regional ministers and has responded to many of these communities with prayers and solidarity grants.

 

We have also been collaborating closely with Disciples Church Extension Fund’s Disaster Response Service to assist congregations and regions with their facilities after a disaster. The Disaster Response Service helps congregations assess damage to their facilities after a disaster- which includes helping to assess how and who to call to start the cleanup process, reviews the congregation’s insurance policies to ensure they are getting everything they are entitled to, and assembles a building committee that will oversee reconstruction

 

Halfway around the world, a second earthquake hit Nepal on Tuesday. This 7.3 magnitude earthquake struck northeast of Kathmandu and was the second strongest earthquake to hit the region since the first struck on April 25. Over 2,000 people were injured in the second quake, and 64 people are dead.  The areas most affected are Dolakhu, Rasuwa, and Sidhupalchowk districts, where the second earthquake caused devastating landslides and caused weakened and damaged buildings to collapse.  Our partner on the ground, ACT Alliance, has accounted for all of their staff, who are safe. They are providing immediate relief to many of the rural area

 

This second quake has created setbacks in the recovery efforts that will continue for weeks, if not months. Of particular concern however, is monsoon season in Nepal, which is to arrive in June and will create additional challenges in rebuilding efforts.  With monsoons come more threats of landslides, flooding, and the need to move people out of high-risk areas.  Week of Compassion will continue to work with our partners to provide relief in the coming weeks, and we will also be involved in planning the rebuilding of many rural communities.  We seek your prayers for the people of Nepal, as well as our partners on the ground.”

 

Please remember 100% of your donations to Week of Compassion will go for earthquake recovery. Please note Nepal Earthquake on your donation to ensure that 100% of your donations to Week of Compassion will go for earthquake recovery.

 

Grace and Peace,

Pastor Carolyn

Holy Humor Sunday

We at Pine Valley Christian Church, with many other congregations nationwide, recognize the important, but often overlooked, sacred gifts of laughter and joy! Laughter is a gift that allows us to keep our hearts light, even at the most difficult of times. At a funeral, a funny story about a loved one can bring comfort to those grieving. During a worship service, the gospel can often be more effectively shared with humor and joy. And even in the midst of the observing the crucifixion of Jesus, we know that life will have the last laugh over death.

For centuries, in Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant traditions, “Bright Sunday” (the Sunday after Easter) was observed by the faithful as a “day of joy and laughter” to celebrate Jesus’ resurrection. This year we had church camp Sunday the week after Easter, but it was decided that we would celebrate “Bright Sunday” or Holy Humor Sunday, only a couple of weeks later. In the tradition of Holy Humor Sunday, parishioners and pastors played practical jokes on each other, drenched each other with water, sang, and danced. It was a time for clergy and people to tell jokes, funny stories and to have fun.

The custom of Holy Humor celebrations were rooted in the musings of early church theologians (like Augustine, Gregory of Nyssa, and John Chrysostom) that God played a practical joke on the death by raising Jesus to new life. Easter was “God’s supreme joke played on death.”   “Risus paschalis ?~ the Easter laugh,” the early theologians called it.

In 1988, observing that the celebration of Jesus’ resurrection has been sorely neglected by 20th-century Christianity, the Fellowship of Merry Christians began encouraging churches and prayer groups to resurrect the old Christian custom of “Holy Humor” or “Bright Sunday” celebrations, as the early Greek Christians called it. This Sunday, May 3rd we will celebrate Easter life with Holy Humor so be prepared for a light-hearted service. Oh! And bring with you your favorite joke or funny story if you would like to share it!

Grace and Peace,

      

 NEW MEETING DATE : SUNDAY, MAY 3rd

5PM AT THE HOME OF BILL AND PAM DELANEY

14715 SIEFKES, WICHITA     67230

DISCUSSING:   Ordinary Grace by William Kent Bruegger

Please read ahead of time in order to discuss!

Snacks and beverages provided.

Pastor Carolyn

CAROLYN’S CORNER

National Weekend of Prayer

The Supreme Court is preparing to hear arguments on marriage equality cases from the 6th district on April 28th. As we prepare for this historic hearing, the Religious Institute and Freedom to Marry is calling for a National Weekend of Prayer for the Freedom to Marry on April 24th – 26th.

They are organizing supportive congregations across the country to include in their regular services a prayer or moment of intention for the justices, the attorneys arguing the case, the plaintiffs, and all the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender families currently denied the freedom to marry in their home state.  Nearly 2,000 faith leaders and communities have added their names to the faith amicus brief in support of marriage equality.  Our congregation has signed up as a participating congregation for the National Weekend of Prayer.  Prayers and responsive readings will be included in our worship this coming Sunday to reflect our participation.  Following the worship service we will go to the front yard to hang the new banner and to ribbon the tree as part of our prayer.  Hope to see you Sunday.

Grace and Peace,

Pastor Carolyn

CAROLYN’S CORNER

Back to Normal? Or a New Beginning?

If you go to any kind of store today, you will see that Easter is over. The plastic eggs will be half-price, and the Easter candy will be on clearance, never to be seen again until next February.   There’s just one problem with that: no matter what the stores are saying, Easter isn’t over.   Yesterday was Easter Sunday, but today is only the second in the 50 days of the Easter season, lasting until Pentecost. Which means that we are only just beginning the journey of the season of Resurrection. While yesterday may have been the day of the empty tomb, today is just as much the day of new beginnings.

Sometimes we journey through Lent thinking that we are running a marathon that ends with Easter Sunday. Some of us arrive exhausted, crashing through the finish line, maybe even ready to pick back up whatever we’ve given up for Lent.

But, the reality is that Lent is not the race. Lent is practice for what comes now. Because Easter is where we learn how to live in the joy of the Resurrection.

And so, it’s time to celebrate Easter. And yes the Easter season is for the next 50 days, but like the song we sang Sunday says, “Every morning is Easter morning from now on.”  Let’s keep it going beyond 50 days.  How will you do it? Will you live in the promise of the Resurrection? Will you let joy and love guide you? And will you let new life take root in you?

In a very real way, you’re still on page one. The choice is yours what comes next.

(Adapted from a devotional found in Still Speaking)

Grace and Peace,

Pastor Carolyn

CAROLYN’S CORNER

Practice Easter

St. Augustine summed up the Christian life saying, “We are an Easter people and Alleluia is our song.

A Christian should be an Alleluia from head to foot.” “Alleluia” is full-throated praise. For Augustine, Lent was like choir practice–a time of clearing our vocal chords and practicing our song, learning it well enough to let loose at Easter. He knew we fall out of practice and get rusty singing against the odds. Alleluia and praise easily become one of those church things that soon lose their luster and lack resonance in our lives. What’s discouraging rings truer. Alleluia, praise, and joy are not something we believe first and practice later. They are songs, not propositions or hypotheses. We practice our parts before we can judge the performance.

Most of us are accustomed to practicing our faith privately. As many still say, we don’t want to wear it on our sleeves. A fellow member of my church saw a sign outside a church that said, “We Sing Loud.” He said that for most of us that’s a grammatical mistake: “loudly” not loud. We’re smart and reserved. But we can still talk with someone we trust, speak with the pastor, or join a small group given to thoughtful discussion. And we can worship.

Amid all that constricts us, we can remember that what’s discouraging may be the first verse in the song of our life, but it’s not the last.   (Found in Still Speaking)

 

Grace and Peace,

Pastor Carolyn

WORSHIP SERVICE ON EASTER SUNDAY, APRIL 5 ~

This Easter Sunday, Pastor Carolyn will share the message titled “Restored In Christ ~ Broken Seal” Reading from our tradition “Matthew 28:1-10″.  Special music to be sung by PVCC Choir “A Resurrection Acclamation”.

CAROLYN’S CORNER

It was in the news last week that March 13th was the anniversary of the Hesston tornado. Memories immediately flooded my mind. I was at work, in Newton, and the tornado sirens began their warning song. Children were just getting home from school, so all the parents in my office left immediately to get home.

 

I remember glancing down streets to see the monster cloud as I rushed home. It was so big that it seemed like it could bear down on Newton any moment. It veered north; half of Hesston was wiped out. A couple of evenings later, Ken drove us through the dirt county roads to see the damage. I was sorrowed to see so many trees snapped, as if they were twigs. I remember a comment of someone who was living in Hesston that they knew something ominous was about to happen because all the grass had laid down. It was flattened to the ground. She knew immediately to get to shelter. The trees that seemed so strong were broken by the storm, but the grass was standing back up afterward.

 

Henri Nouwen makes this observation:

Flexibility is a great virtue.  When we cling to our own positions and are not willing to let our hearts be moved back and forth a little by the ideas or actions of others, we may easily be broken.   Being like wild reeds does not mean being wishy-washy.  It means moving a little with the winds of the time while remaining solidly anchored in the ground.   A humorless, intense, opinionated rigidity about current issues might cause these issues to break our spirits and make us bitter people.  Let’s be flexible while being deeply rooted.

 

Grace and Peace,

     

 NEXT MEETING: SUNDAY, APRIL 19TH

5PM AT THE HOME OF BILL AND PAM DELANEY

14715 SIEFKES, WICHITA     67230

DISCUSSING:   Ordinary Grace by William Kent Bruegger

Please read ahead of time in order to discuss!

Snacks and beverages provided.

Pastor Carolyn

CAROLYN’S CORNER

“Lent is a spiritual “spring cleaning”: we enter the inner places where we are stuck or muddled, and we clear away the clutter so that God moves a little more freely through us.

When we look at ourselves deeply and honestly, we all meet our own clutter. In this work, we first find ourselves alone and exposed to the inner elements: our vices, our confusion, feelings we’d prefer to mute. And this is the way it must be; to explore and heal ourselves, we must meet ourselves head on, alone, in what may feel like a very wild place.

Open your heart and mind to your entire self — both good and bad — and quietly name what you find there. And remember that you are not alone in this work. God goes with you, moving gently and compassionately through your inner world, guiding and nurturing your Lenten journey.”

How can you clean out the dust from your soul this Lent?

(found in –Alive Now, March/April 2012)

 

Grace and Peace,

Pastor Carolyn

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