Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Thinking About Hunger from a Place of Excess

During this month our focus is going to be hunger and helping those in need.  Two projects that we will be promoting and participating in are Church World Service's CROP Walk on Sunday Oct 13th at Onondaga Lake Park, and the other will be Trick or Treat for UNICEF which will culminate with dressing in costumes after church school on Oct 27th and collecting funds.  Additionally, children will be encouraged to raise additional funds (if they and their parents are comfortable) by asking for a quarter or any "loose change" donations when/if they trick or treat.

It is interesting to talk about the issue of hunger during a month that we don't think quite as much about it.  Around November we have Thanksgiving and that seems to fit more naturally.  The Christmas season as well is a time that we are often prompted to think of others.

I'll admit that the reason that I incorporated issues of hunger in late September and into Oct (the early part) was due to participation in CROP- because CROP is at a set time, and having tie ins and background information for students is important to me.

However, upon having a talk with Pastor Stuart, I came to realize that, particularly for our younger children, that we can make this connection even with Halloween.  On a night that some people may see as "anti-church", can we not only say "No, this is a celebration of fun, and fantasy." but also use it as an opportunity to further carry out the will of Christ?

This is a new idea for me too, but one that has me thinking.

Please support any of our participants in our CROP walk as well as with Trick or Treat for UNICEF.  If you'd like to learn more about either of these efforts, please visit.  

Also, this YouTube video made by Alleluia! Lutheran Church in IL to promote their local CROP walk is just brilliant and fun.

The official UNICEF site: http://unicefusa.org/
A UNICEF video explaining the basics and promoting involvement for children and families.

Families- if you want to check out some great books to share with your children, look here.

Yours in Christ, 


Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Children in Church: How Can We Be Welcoming to All?

I wanted to share this link and a couple of thoughts about it.


This blog article is entitled, "Dear parents with young children in church, what you do matters!"  I don't know about any of you, but I've *been* that mom.  Maybe nursery care isn't available, maybe your child doesn't want to go, maybe your child is too old for nursery but is fidgety.  Any way you slice it, it can be emotionally draining, trying to respect others, trying to worship, and trying to parent.

How are we as fellow Christians- either with children or without?  Do we support one another and foster a spirit of welcoming or do we glare?  Do we even want children in worship?  It is an interesting question.

The story of Jesus with the babies and little children (Matthew 19:13-15; Mark 10: 13-16; Luke 18:15-17) tells us about parents of young children who basically brought their children to worship.  Brought them to interact with Jesus and to have them receive a blessing from Jesus.  Were the disciples encouraging and supportive?  Not by a long shot!

They basically said, "Get those little grimy, sticky, noisy children out of here.  Don't bother us, and especially don't bother Jesus.  This is too important an event for them."

Ok... the first part may be stretching things a bit.  However, they were concerned as I think that we all are about being able to pay attention to Jesus.  They were also concerned about "protecting" Jesus; because they cared.  They didn't want Jesus to have to deal with annoyances and the trivial.

But Jesus challenges them, and challenges us to let them come.  Let them come as they are and that they shall receive.

How can we do this?  I have some ideas, but I'm leaving the floor open.  Go ahead, don't be shy.

Love in Christ,


Monday, August 26, 2013

Let's Dive In!

New Year,  New Theme

As you could probably tell, our theme for this church school year is Diving In.  The following song by Steven Curtis Chapman was my inspiration.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2qTXLEpS1gg

I think that this song is a great metaphor for the an engaged,  heart-fulled, enthusiastic approach to our journey.  I want to encourage all of us *not* to sit on the sidelines- even though it might be more familiar, comfortable, and safe.  We need to go "all in" and be washed in God's amazing grace and boundless love.  These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full. (John 15:11)

Think about what it will mean for you to "dive in" this year.  We all have talents and gifts and using them with joy is part of this process.

For me- one of my goals for this coming year will be to be faithful in publishing a blog entry once a month.  Also, I want to continue to look for ways that we can experience real and deep connections to Christ and to each other.

I'd like to take this moment to promote our new Christian Education website http://presbville.weebly.com .  It is still a work in progress, but hopefully it can provide some resources and support.  Additionally,  our "Let's Get Together" page- will feature our upcoming events!  September is up- stay tuned for October!

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. (Romans 15:13)


Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Figuring God Out

As I was working on the About Us section of the website, and trying valiantly to find a picture to put next to "Christian Education" (I did, but I never figured out how to add it), I happened across this, and it got me thinking.

How many times do we do this?  How many times do *I* do this?  Put God into a box.  Think that we have our faith and our God all figured out.  Sometimes this extends to how we do things in church.  We have it "figured out" until somebody or something forces us to ask "Why?". 

I think that this is one of the things that really drove Jesus nuts with the Pharisees.  Sometimes we (myself included) are busy pegging them as the "bad guys", and forget that they did love God, they wanted to be the "good guys", and spent a lot of time and energy trying to do the right things.  Which is commendable.  So what drove Jesus up a wall with them?  They had "figured out" God and their faith "with nice lines and definitions".  They may have followed the letter of the law (or their additional rules), but they didn't follow the Spirit of the law.

I think of Jesus in these times like a parent or a teacher that is trying and trying to get students/children to understand something, to really understand it.  And sometimes you have a person who is bright, and talented, and you know that they can do it, but they just aren't understanding, and sometimes are stubbornly insisting that you have no idea what you are talking about.  I sometimes imagine Jesus thinking, "Come on!!  I know that you can do it.  Just look beyond those lines and definitions!". 

Maybe I'm wrong in my previous thoughts, but I feel that we have a challenge.  We need to show a living, vibrant faith and like any good relationship, we never have the other party completely figured out, otherwise we don't grow.

I want to leave you with a song that this subject makes be think of.  I hope that you enjoy it.
More Like Falling in Love

Blessings on your journey,

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Why a Blog?

Good question.

First of all, if reading blogs is not something that is usual to you, please do not feel that you have to read these entries or risk hurting my feelings.  Believe me, I understand that people have different levels of familiarity and comfort with different styles of communication.

This brings me to my reason for writing this- communication.  Will this be the only way that I will communicate and interact?  Of course not.  This simply provides another mode, one which certain groups of people are extremely comfortable and familiar with using and responding to.

This blog can hopefully also provide a point of discussion about topics of faith.  This discussion can be had amongst members within the church, but even people who just happen upon the website as well.  We are called to be salt and light and I believe that we can make use of technology in our endeavors towards this end.

Lastly, I welcome comments on my blog, either posts on the blog itself, or in person comments.  I might be crazy for opening the blog up to comments, but my mission is to foster educational moments, and we learn in community.  I will read through comments and respond.  Additionally if we happen to have someone discover the site, who leaves a not-so-appropriate comment, I can and will be able to delete comments that are not appropriate.

However, my main focus is joy, community, and sharing!  I look forward to further discussions.

Love in Christ,


Friday, January 11, 2013

New Year, New Challenges

     As we start this new year, I started thinking about faith and conversations.  How many times do we talk about our faith?  As you read the last sentence, did any of the following images come to mind?

(pic. of screaming guy w/ cross and bible)

(pic. of guy w/ bullhorn yelling at another guy walking down the street)

(pic of people holding hateful signs)

If these are the images that come to mind (and they do for many of us), then no wonder we don't want to talk about our faith.  We've seen people using similar methods when they talk about their faith, and we don't want to use those methods.

But... what if...???

Is there a way that we can have conversations about faith without judgementalism?  Without yelling?  Without "preaching" or acting like we have all the answers?

I think that there is.

Think about it; when you are talking with your friends, do you talk about things that you like, do,  or enjoy, even if they don't necessarily feel the same way?  Do you hide the fact that you are a Lord of the Rings "geek" on the chance that they aren't into it?  Granted, you wouldn't sit and give them a half an hour lecture about the reasons that the Ents are more awesome than  the Uriki (or something like that).  However, you might say that the triology is your favorite set of movies, and maybe what you love about the series (the fantasy element, the action, the effects, etc).

If  you have an opinion about the school shootings, or voting, or internet restrictions do you always keep your thoughts and opinions to yourself?  Why do the rules change so much when it comes to discussing faith?

I'm going to throw out an idea.  What if we can have a conversations about faith in a respectful, open way?  We can talk about our thoughts, feeling, and ideas in the same way that we can about other issues. 

From personal experience- when I've had these conversations with others, when I've asked people about what they believe and why (and listen, because I want to know), when I've shared what I believe and why (making it clear that it is from my point of view)- this has opened up some amazing conversations.

I know that it is a new thought- but I challenge you to try this.  Get into a conversation about beliefs.  Don't go into it as if you know all the answers (you don't).  You might (and probably will) get asked some questions that you don't know the answers to, and these questions and conversations might make you think and reflect on your own thoughts about your beliefs and how you view the beliefs of others.  The only way that you can really find out what and why a person believes or feels the way that they do, is to ask them.

I tell you what- take me up on this challenge.  I'll make it easy.  Three conversations by June.  They can be with any friends (either from school, the community, or online).  I'll make a conscious effort to seek out these opportunities as well.  I'd love to hear how it goes.  I can't wait to see what things that we learn, and how we grow.

All the very best in this new year!