Greta McDonald's blog

What's First?

What's First? That’s a question we ask ourselves, over and over, consciously or subconsciously, each day.

What's First? -- we may ask in the morning – eat breakfast, or take a few extra minutes to exercise? Work a little more on my morning’s first meeting, or...just grab my jacket and head out the door to make sure I get to work in plenty of time?

What’s First? -- we may ask during the day – write that letter or get down on the floor to really spend time with the kids? Call that person I haven’t seen in a while...or tackle that closet?

It's Good to Be Church

"Are we doing something in Oklahoma?" one of our members asked me at a meeting this week. She was pretty sure the answer would be "yes," and it was. The "we" she was referring to, of course, wasn't either one of us - she wanted to make sure "we" were at the site of the devastating tornado in Moore, in the form of relief workers from the United Methodist Committee on Relief.

The Lenten Season Has Arrived!

What a meaningful Ash Wednesday service we were able to share together at the start of the Lenten Season on February 13! Youth Minister Katie Kiss inspired us with reflections on how the words of the Old Testament prophet Amos shed light on living our faith with integrity today.

Receiving

“Receiving God’s Grace to Become God’s Gifts” – that’s our congregation’s theme for the next three months – and that’s a mouthful! Let’s go easy on ourselves, with all the getting-ready-for-Christmas things already in our minds – let’s just focus today on one word -- “receiving.”

During these days of Advent, “receiving” is almost a counter- cultural activity. So much being spoken to us by advertisements and daily conversations is about “getting” – “only 26 more days to get that Christmas shopping done!”; “What are you going to get for him?”; “What do you think we’ll get from them?”; “When am I going to find time to get the Christmas decorations up?”... and the unspoken thought -- “I can’t wait to just get through it all and put my feet up on the 26th!”

But we in the Church are invited into a journey of receiving during the Advent and Christmas Seasons.

Take a Walk!

When I was young, one of the small pleasures of the school year starting up again was the prospect of daily walks to and from school with friends from my neighborhood.  On these daily walks, understanding of my friends grew, inevitable squabbles were healed, and compassion deepened as we shared, on the way home, what had been that day's biggest challenges. And there was the unbeatable bonding experiences of doubling over with laughter together at some great joke or silly observation.

A Day of Celebration

We are so looking forward to this Sunday morning's special worship service, and the great "singing and ringing" Sunday evening concert too!

A praise band will be supporting the music for Sunday morning's service, and the message will be shared by JJ Mannschreck, our seminary intern. The design of the service looks refreshing and joyful - I can hardly wait to be there!

Pastor's Reflection

Oh, these spring mornings! I relish them, as I am sure most of us do. With the early sunlight streaming in through the windows, and the plants outside growing fuller every day, it's a daily treat to just pause and soak it all in -- even when doing so reminds me that one of these days, I'd better wash those panes!

Many Hands Blessing the Future

This Sunday will be rich with celebrations! At the 9:30 worship hour, we will welcome new members into our congregation, and at the 11:00 service, we will share in the Confirmation of 31 young people into the Christian faith.

One of the elements in the Confirmation service is the "laying on of hands" for each confirmand, while a prayer for God's continued shaping of their lives is spoken. Laying on of hands occurs in the Bible, and is a symbol of blessing; of accepting to God's call upon the person's life; and of the giving of the Holy Spirit.

Catching a Glimpse of Our Chapel Choir

It has been fun, this past week, to receive brief text messages and photos from Jim of the high school Chapel Choir trip to New York. From the first day's surprising glimpse of two of our students joyfully hoisted in the air at a recreation area; to a glimpse of that same evening, of the choir preparing for their first concert; to a glimpse of them gathering on Wednesday to sing at the United Nations - these momentary glimpses helped me to understand the fun - and the significance - of what they were experiencing.

Encourage Love in One Another

Even though it was Valentine"s Day night, there was a good turnout for the meeting of the church work area " the members knew the work they were in the process of accomplishing together was worth giving attention to, even on that special evening.

And our attendance was not taken for granted. At each place was a tiny Valentine's gift - a ribboned bag of conversation hearts and chocolate kisses. No one took credit for the gifts, but we were pretty sure it was the handiwork of our Chairperson. A nice gesture that said, "your presence is valued."

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