eChurchlight February 2009
Dates to remember
through the looking glass
Pardon me if I don't speak of business today. A good friend recently placed on my desk a photocopy of some writings by Max Lucado of all people.
Christ repeatedly escaped the noise of the crowd in order to hear the voice of God. After his forty day pause in the wilderness, the people of Capernaum "tried to keep Him from leaving them; but He said to them, "I must preach the kingdom of God to the other cities also, because for this purpose I have been sent. (Luke 4.42-43).
He resisted the undertow of the people by anchoring to the rock of his purpose: employing his uniqueness (to "preach . . to the other cities also") to make a big deal out of God ("the kingdom of God") everywhere he could.
And aren't you glad he did? Suppose he had heeded the crowd and set up camp in Capernaum, reasoning, "I thought the whole world was my target and the cross of my destiny. But the entire town tells me to stay in Capernaum. Could all these people be wrong?"
Yes, they could! In defiance of the crowd, Jesus turned his back on the Capernaum pastorate and followed the will of God. Doing so meant leaving some sick people unhealed and some confused people untaught. He said no to good things so he could say yes to the right thing.
Even Jesus couldn't do everything but more to point, even Jesus shouldn't do everything.
Each of us have similar struggles to find our best self, most true self, to discern our gifts and our joy and to see more clearly what are the obstacles that defeat us on the journey to God. As we enter the season of contemplation I confess that I find my joy exploring the mysteries of the inner life, of the spirit, the soul. The business of the world, even the politics bore me profoundly. I am still afraid to admit these things even to myself because they are important things, good things, things that need to be addressed and with which we need to wrestle. I suspect that I am not the only one who feels obligated to be concerned about everything, to do it all, but as I get older I do know more about myself and I know what gives me joy. Perhaps we do not value joy enough. I am not talking about just getting what we want or doing what we want. Joy is not self-centered. It is God-centered. That is where joy is found and we find it there when we find ourselves because when we find ourselves we find also the God who made us to be who we are. Finding ourselves is not just finding what we want or what we like but finding what God made us to be and whatever it is I believe God created us to give that best self to others, to the world. It is the vision of every living thing sharing the gift of itself with every other for the sake of all. The hard lesson is that that bigger picture does not happen because I or anyone else makes it happen by doing every thing necessary to make it happen. We each have different gifts that together make us whole. With this in mind we who live in community as a congregation of the United Methodist Church in Belmont need each other. We need to find and share our joy with the community so that we can live. I look forward to the ways we discover to do just that. For one thing I invite you to join me for contemplation in the chapel after coffee on Sunday. I will read to you the things that touch my heart and soul and we will explore the mysteries of the inner life. Richard Foster once wrote that we as a people have probably explored outer space more than we have explored inner space. I offer you my joy. Here is an example: The poet is Scott Cairns.
Speculation: Along the Way
The roaring alongside he takes for granted.
-“Sandpiper” by Elizabeth Bishop
And when, of a given evening, say, an evening laced
with storm clouds skirting distance parsed by slanting light,
or when the thick air of an August afternoon by the late approach
of just such a storm turns suddenly thin and cool, and the familiar
roaring, for the moment made especially unmistakable
by distant thunder, may seem oddly to be answered from within
—that's how it feels, anyway—and when, of a moment, such roaring
couples as well with sudden calm—interior, it hardly matters—
in that fortunate incursion whereby the roar itself is suddenly interred,
you might startle to having had a taste of what will pass as prayer,
or a taste, at the very least, of how fraught, how laden the visible is,
even as you find a likely figure for its uncanny agency. Sure,
I'm making this up as I go, hoping—even as I go—to be finally
getting somewhere. And maybe I am. Maybe I'm taking you along.
Let's say it's so, and say we now commence.
(as published in Image, a Journal of Art, Faith and Mystery)
Our next All Church Lunch will be Sunday, February 8. Join us after coffee hour in the Social Hall for a time of fellowship and celebration. Our thanks to the volunteers who will be preparing the meal for Bristol Kitchen the night before, and will make extra for all of us. Donations well go toward the cost our Bristol Kitchen mission.
Lent arrives this month, and there are some special activities in the works, including:
Details will be available soon, so watch this space, keep an eye on the Narthex bulletin board, listen to announcements, and read the Sunday bulletins! As always, if you have ideas, suggestions or questions about our programs, feel free to talk to me anytime at church, or email me at email@example.com
New Orleans Update
The Youth Group has been busy planning the next mission trip to aid our sister churches in New Orleans. The trip is scheduled for the Memorial Day weekend (exact dates to be determined later). Anyone, youth or adult, who wishes to take part in the trip should let a youth group member, Bob, or Liz know by this Sunday, Feb 8. A deposit of $50 will be required by Feb 13
The youth group has several fundraising projects planned and underway. A very successful Parents Night Out, babysitting evening, was held this past Friday, Jan 30. Look for more events coming soon and watch the fund grow on the thermometer posted on the bulletin board in the Narthex.
Missions of the Belmont United Methodist Church
submitted by Louise Halstead, acting chair
Thanks to all the people who helped with our seasonal Thanksgiving/Christmas missions. We supplied Thanksgiving Ingathering of food for the needy in Arlington, which was greatly appreciated. Monies were given for the Belmont Food Pantry so their clients could have gift cards to Shaw’s and Target for their holiday celebrations. We purchased, wrapped and gave Christmas gifts for 124 children at the Cooper Community Center Preschool and After School Program in Roxbury so they could have a joyous Christmas. Heifer International Ark received donations so they can supply animals for farms in Third World Countries.
We at BUMC believe it is important to be personally involved in
mission as active participants as well as supportive observers.
There is always room for more people to participate in mission. Here is a
description of our current activities -- where do you see yourself?
1. Our work at Bristol Kitchen continues. This soup kitchen in Waltham provides an evening meal to homeless and low-income people living in this area. For several years we have provided a meal to about 45 men and women with each visit to Bristol Kitchen. The past few months have seen the number grow to over 60, and in December it was close to 80. We prepare and serve the meal on the first Saturday of each month. The cooking is done in the kitchen at BUMC from 1:30 until 3:00. At 4:30 the cars are loaded and the food is transported to Bristol Kitchen, where it is served. If you know your way around the kitchen (or even if you don't), please join us. If you would like to take a trip to the Kitchen to help serve a meal, please join us. Each month's meal at Bristol Kitchen costs about $100, if you would like to help support this mission financially, just look for the Bristol Kitchen donation jar that is out whenever BUMC eats together. You can contact Terri Kolenbrander at 617-489-2659 to be added to the volunteer list. Thank you for your generous support and your willing hands.
2. We are part of the Belmont/Arlington RIM (Refugee Immigration Ministry) Cluster – a group of 5 churches who support a political refugee immigrant while their papers are being processed. We help them find jobs and become independent. Our support helps the immigrant financially and emotionally during this trying period. The cluster is considering which of the immigrants looking for support will be our responsibility. When a client is chosen there will be many opportunities to help. Contact Louise Halstead at 617-489-1340 if you would like to help.
3. As a part of the Cooperative Parish Ministry we are in partnership with three churches in New Orleans. They were devastated by Hurricane Katrina and are working hard to recover. Some of our youth and adults have been to New Orleans to work with them in the past. As I write this in January, Geoffrey Diehl is in New Orleans helping with various projects including rebuilding a playground that was so damaged that the youth tore it down when they were there. The youth group will be earning money to help defray the cost of their next trip. Please stay connected for updates on their activities.
4. We continue to participate in Partakers’ “College Beyond Bars”. This program helps an inmate at MCI Framingham take college classes and prepare to live in the world at large after being released. We supply funds for books, give emotional support and help her keep in contact with her family so she and her children will each other when she returns to their lives. Talk to Linda Kincaid or Laurel Wainwright to find out more and to participate in this mission.
5. Belmont Food Pantry is our most local mission. Your donations of food and household supplies help low income persons in Belmont. There is a drop off basket in the Narthex for donations (please donate foods within the sell by date. The food pantry cannot distribute outdated foods). We deliver these donations to the Food Pantry on a regular basis. Help with deliveries and participation at the food pantry are always welcome. See Louise Halstead for more information.
6. Anyone who knits, crochets, ties fleece or sews is welcome to help make Baby Blankets for the Young Parents Clinic at Children’s Hospital. There is a bin in the office where you can put your completed baby blanket. These are delivered to the YPC for distribution to the babies.
An Annual International Mission:
Once again we are campaigning to raise money for Nothing But Nets. This program purchases and distributes mosquito netting to protect families in Africa against Malaria – a disease which kills nearly one million children each year. We are planning “Shoot Outs” on February 28 (at Belmont High School gym) and March 8 (at the church) to raise money for this purpose. We need people willing to help run the Shoot Outs as well as participants who raise pledges and shoot for nets. Ten dollars ($10) supplies a net which protects a family of four! Stay connected for more information.
Women’s Book Group
The Women’s Book Group will meet on February 26th at 7:30 PM in the Parlor.
We are reading The Little Chinese Seamstress by Dai Sijie.
Everyone is welcome! Please ask Louise Halstead if you have any questions.
February 2009 Coffee Schedule
February 1st – HIJKL
February 8th – MNOPQ, coordinated by Linda Rodi
February 15th – RSTU, coordinated by Kathy Touzjian & Donna Esposito
February 22nd – VWXYZ
February 2009 Worship Services
February 1st: 10:00 a.m. Fourth Sunday After the Epiphany Color: Green
Deuteronomy 18:15-20; Psalm 111 (UMH 832); 1 Corinthians 8:1-13; Mark 1:21-28
February 8th: 10:00 a.m. Fifth Sunday After the Epiphany Color: Green
Isaiah 40:21-31; Psalm 147:1-11, 20c (UMH 859); 1 Corinthians 9:16-23; Mark 1:29-39
February 15th: 10:00 a.m. Sixth Sunday After the Epiphany Color: Green
1 Samuel 3:1-10 (11-20); Psalm 139:1-6, 13-18 (UMH 854); 1 Corinthians 6:12-20; John 1:43-51
February 22nd: 10:00 a.m. Transfiguration Sunday Color: White
2 Kings 2:1-12; Psalm 50:1-6 (UMH 783); 2 Corinthians 4:3-6; Mark 9:2-9
February 25th: 7:30 p.m. Ash Wednesday Color: Purple
Joel 2:1-2, 12-17; Psalm 51:1-17 (UMH 785); 2 Corinthians 5:20b-6:10; Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21
2: Caitlin Marchetta
15: Ed Sanford
If you would like your birthday or anniversary date to be added to the monthly Churchlight page, please contact the office.
Office hours at 421 Common Street in Belmont (phone: 617-489-0730) are:
Monday through Friday
9:00 AM to 3:00 PM
Office hours at 80 Mt. Auburn Street in Watertown (phone: 617-926-2931):are
Tuesday and Thursday
4:00 - 6:30 PM
The United Methodist Church