Pilgrim Faith has a LOT of children and youth planning to go to camp this summer. Parents are organizing a spaghetti dinner fund raiser for Saturday, February 25, 4:00-7:00 pm at Pilgrim Faith. Please save the date and invite your friends and family to come with you to this dinner. We appreciate your support!
Pilgrim Faith has long been a member of the Community Renewal Society and supports them with an annual contribution. The Community Renewal Society works with people and communities to address racism and poverty. CRS transforms society towards greater justice and compassion. It is affiliated with the United Church of Christ, having been founded by the Congregationalists in Chicago in 1882.
On Sunday February 26 Delia Ramirez, Deputy Director of CRS, will be speaking to us during worship and then leading a forum at 11:00 am about the transformative work done by CRS. We’ve asked her to address how their initiatives address the problem of violence as well as racism and poverty. CRS has some effective programs that make a real difference and we hope you will come and learn about what this mission is doing.
On February 5 our GLUED youth will be collecting donations for Souper Bowl of Caring which will benefit “2 Li’l Fishes.” The kids will be at the doors with soup pots to collect whatever you would like to give as you leave the service. They will also do a skit during worship. “2 Li’l Fishes” is a hot lunch program at People’s Church of Chicago. They provide over 25,000 free, hot nutritious meals each year to those who are hungry or homeless in the Uptown neighborhood. Isaac Barrantine, the program coordinator for that lunch program, inspired all of us when he talked during worship last year. .
Our country is very divided right now. We’ve always had a wide variety of opinion in our nation and one of our cherished rights is the freedom to express differing ideas. That freedom is part of what makes the United States a great place to live.
We will always have differences about religion and economic plans and how to protect freedom and individual rights. The push for rights and freedoms has led to great tension and conflict in the past as some resist extending rights and opportunities to groups that have not had them. There is no mythical time in our past when everyone agreed and got along.
What has deteriorated in recent years is the practice of civility. Rather than engaging with each other to discuss ideas, policy and goals, increasingly people lob nasty personal attacks against those with whom they disagree. That makes it much more difficult to find a way to work together for our common good.
Our own United Church of Christ history provides a model for how people can work together. We are not a creedal church in which everyone is expected to believe the same thing. You do not have to subscribe to a specific creed to join our church. The UCC is a covenantal church. We agree (or covenant) to work together and walk together in God’s ways.
The focus is on working together on things that are important to us without insisting that everyone agree. There is room for others to work together on other things. Even in our differences we try to support one another and understand one another and welcome all. We can be civil and respectful because we value the other person even when we disagree with them.
I hope that we can regain the ability to have respectful disagreements with each other in our country. When we do that and actually listen to each other we often discover many areas on which we can work together for the good of all.
That respect begins with each one of us in all the arenas of our lives. We can treat everyone with respect and encourage others to do the same. We can listen to people with whom we disagree and try to understand their point of view. We may still disagree but we might also learn why they hold the view they do. And they might also learn something from us. It might help us move forward together.
This isn’t easy. It takes a lot of patience and self-restraint. It also holds great potential to help us find workable solutions to common problems. It is God’s way.
Pastor Peggy McClanahan – February 2017
Next meeting is Wednesday, February 1st @ 7:00 PM. We will be creating Valentines for shut-ins with the craftiness of Kathy McGahan!!! Pizza will be served and beverages are on your own.
At 9:30 am worship on January 8 you will get a “Star Word,” a special rock from the beach at Tower Hill on which the Deacons have put a star and a special word. We invite you to receive that word as a gift and ponder all year what it means for your life. We believe this word will lead you to understand something God wants you to know!
In March we will have a special Lenten potluck lunch and program after church at which we will share with each other about our special star words mean to us. We will include the children in this activity so we hope they will get a “Star word” on January 8 also. (This year the youth may select a special “children’s word” or pick their rock from the general collection of words.)
There are some amazing stories of how God has spoken to us through our words in past years. We hope you will join in and find it enriching in 2017.
The next Newcomer Class for those interested in becoming a member or who just want to learn more about Pilgrim Faith will be Sunday, January 22 from 2:00 to 5:00 p.m. in the church lounge. The class is open to anyone who wants to know more about our church.
This session will introduce persons to the ministries and activities of Pilgrim Faith Church, as well as our beliefs and background. After attending this session, any who want to become a member of Pilgrim Faith Church may do so in February.
Please contact Pastor Peggy if you would like to attend this session or have questions.
WINTER BIBLE STUDY
“God Got Me This Far: Now What?”
When our lives are in crisis, a lot of us are quick to turn to God for help. Once God has brought us through the crisis, the bigger challenge begins: finding what God wants in the daily ups and downs of life and doing it. It is pretty easy to stray away from God after our crisis has ended.
Our winter Bible study will delve into the second half of the Exodus story in which God’s people learn (and often forget) to go with God during the daily grind of life. There are lessons here for us on finding God in the details and living by the Ten Commandments and trusting God when God isn’t answering our calls.
The class will meet for six weeks on Tuesday evenings from 7:00-8:15 pm beginning January 17 through February 21 in the church lounge. (Enter through the courtyard on 51st Avenue.)
Everyone is welcome, even if you’ve never opened a Bible before!
On January 29 we will have a special time in our 9:30 worship service for parents to bring their children who are younger than five for a blessing of the children. Each family will also light a candle for their child. Families are asked to meet at the front of sanctuary at 9:15.
We hope all the families with young children will be here for this special service. Grandparents and other relatives are invited to sit with family.
Please let the office or Pastor Peggy know if you have friends or family with young children who might like to be included in this service. They do not have to be members of this church to bring their children for a Candlemas blessing.
Every year brings new models of cars, updated smart phones and clever new Super Bowl ads. Did you know that God plans to upgrade you as well?
A lot of us go into each new year with good resolutions. I’m going to exercise more and get healthy. I’m going to tame my tongue. I’m going to help the homeless. Sometimes we even follow through on significant changes this way. Sometimes we stumble along the way and then try again next year.
There’s no end to the list of things most of us could do better if we just weren’t so human! Perhaps the place to start this year is to admit that we are human and seek some guidance from God about what is most important for this coming year.
God wants us to be kind and loving but God does not expect us to be perfect. If we focus too much energy on being perfect we’ll be of little use to God or anyone! Rather than perfect, God was us to be more kind and loving. It’s a journey.
So before you start making New Year resolutions, spend some quiet time with God and ask: what do you want to do with me this year? God has probably already been nudging you in some way. Listen to the nudgings and ask God to show you what to do about it. If you start to work on the very thing God wants to you do, amazing things will happen. Maybe even a new you!
The Apostle Paul says “If anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation!” [2 Corinthians 5:17] God creates a new me when I trust myself to Jesus Christ! God shapes and creates that new you just the way God wants you. And God patiently and persistently pulls forth the best from each of us.
May you go with God in 2017 and let God pull forth the best you!
Pastor Peggy McClanahan – January 2017