Connections from Felix

Dear Friends, 

 

 

A Thought for Epiphany

    

As you may know, January 6th is as big as Christmas day in many countries. On that day, they celebrate the "Three Kings Day." Pretty much like on Christmas day in the U.S., children wake up to open presents left by the mysterious characters who once visited Mary, Joseph and the baby Jesus. For centuries, the Christian church has observed January 6th as the day when that visit took place and we call the celebration, Epiphany, which means "God's light made manifest."

  

The Gospel of Matthew tells us that it was "the time of King Herod." He receives a visit from a small group of "wise men" (not wise guys...) from the East. All we really know about the magi is that they were on an important mission: to find the newborn King of the Jews. We know the rest of the story.
 

What we probably don't know is the importance of these "wise men" to the story of Jesus as presented by Matthew. These men are not of Jewish descent, yet they come to worship the "King of the Jews". What's more interesting is that they come from countries that represented oppression and war. They were enemies! These seekers from the East, who traveled long and hard to worship Jesus with extravagant gifts, remind us that Jesus' birth is a gift, not only for the Jews, but for all nations and peoples.


In contrast to our propensity to think one ethnicity or people is better than another, to view one's own people as God's chosen or blessed by God while others aren't, and to exclude other people who are different, these pagans from Persia show that God welcomes the worship and the gifts of all people everywhere. The new king Jesus abolishes not only the barriers of nation, race and ethnicity he also transcends the boundaries of gender, religion, economics and social class. For in Christ "there is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are one in Christ Jesus" (Galatians 3:28). The magi were only the tip of a very big iceberg.

 

So, what can we learn from this story? We learn that the smallest things, like a newborn baby, can terrify the arrogant, and bring them down. We learn that God's grace and unconditional love goes beyond our human limitations and prejudices. We learn that a great light has dawned and it draws all people and calls us to live our lives illuminated by its truth. Amen! 
 

 

 

Old Town Community Church Requests Your Prayers and Assistance:


On December 26, 2011, we received the sad news that Old Town Community Church in San Diego burned to the ground. The building was situated in the historic part of San Diego. According to Fox 5 News, "the fire was started by a candle that was left burning" (http://www.fox5sandiego.com/news/kswb-old-town-community-church-candle-sparked-old-town-church-fire-20111228,0,1806789.story).  Fortunately, no was injured in the blaze. The congregation plans to temporarily meet in their Chapel Museum and will hold services outdoors when the weather permits.  Cash donations can be sent to the Conference Office, with "Old Town Community Church" in the memo line. For other types of donations, contact the Rev. Alex Achacoso, Pastor of Old Town Community at (619) 709-2559.
 

 

New Staff Members:


We are excited to announce the names of our two new staff members: the Rev. Libby Tigner and Mr. Dave Palmer. 


 

Meet the Rev. Libby Tigner
SCNC Associate Conference Minister for Church Relations


9-11 PostcardThe Rev. Libby Tigner was ordained in the United Church of Christ in 1995 and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in sociology from California State University, Long Beach and a Master of Divinity from the Claremont School of Theology. She served as a part-time Assistant Minister at First Congregational Church of Long Beach from 1995 to 2000 and has been Associate Minister for that congregation since 2001. Her primary areas of interest in ministry are adult education and spiritual development.


The Rev. Tigner currently serves as a member of the UCC Executive Council, and has in the past served in the Southern California Nevada Conference of the UCC as Moderator of the Central Association and Chair of the Central Association's Committee on Church and Ministry. She has also been the Co-Coordinator of the Southern California Nevada Conference Chapter of the Coalition on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Concerns. Rev. Tigner has been on the Board of Directors of the South Coast Interfaith Council and President of the Long Beach Religious Leaders Association.


Libby is the Moderator for the UCC Synod 29, to be held in Long Beach in June 2013. She  begins her new position, February 6, 2012.
 

 


 

Meet Mr. Dave Palmer
SCNC Young Adult Ministry Coordinator


9-11 PostcardHi - I'm Dave Palmer. I'm from San Diego, CA by way of Nashville, TN and my hometown of Chicago, IL. I am a Cubs fan, which means that I always believe that there is hope, despite all evidence to the contrary. In 1990 I graduated from Valparaiso University with degrees in English and Theology. Using that education, I promptly began what became an 18-year career in the music industry. I worked in marketing, artist development and artist management. What I feel that really means is that I worked very hard to look at big picture strategies that helped to facilitate artists' identifying and working to achieve a vision for who they wanted to be, as well as connecting those artists to people and organizations that could help them with their goals.


During that time I volunteered in my local church and worked alongside several youth and young adult serving organizations, including Youth Specialties and the early days of Emergent Village. As a result of these experiences, I have been immersed in the worlds of youth and young adults ever since I was a participant in those communities. I enjoy the process of connecting people, ideas and organizations to one another, particularly as it relates to faith formation and the vitality of faith communities. 


In 2008 my family moved from Nashville to San Diego, where I worked for a time with Youth Specialties, before establishing my own consulting work to provide strategic direction to others. In that process we came to belong to the UCC La Mesa community, where I teach youth Sunday School and serve on the current transition team. As I enter into a new calling with the conference I look forward to being both a resource for and connector of ways to better engage young adults with our UCC congregations and see the revitalization of communities through those efforts and responses to God's calling.
 

 

 

January Birthdays:


Jan. 2     

Rev. Curtis E. Miner
 

Jan. 3     

Rev. Eleanor Scott Meyers
 

Jan. 9     

Rev. Sarah Jeanne Halverson
 

Jan. 10   

Rev. Linda Sieh
 

Jan. 12   

Rev. James S. Vuocolo

Rev. Kirsten Linford

Rev. Richard S. Blakley
 

Jan. 14    

Rev. Liki Lokeni Tiatia

Rev. Mark D. Mollet


Jan. 15    

Rev. Joan Bates Forsberg

Rev. Paula J. Elizabeth
 

Jan. 16    

Rev. Walter Bond Davis

Rev. Harold A. Jackson
 

Jan. 21 

Rev. Dagmar Grefe
Rev. Homer D. Henderson

Rev. Hamleth Terrones
 

Jan. 22 

Rev. Ernest Myron Fowler

Rev. Dr. Charles  Mattison


Jan. 25 

Rev. Milan L. Hamilton

Rev. John Varga


Jan. 26 

Rev. Teogenes Tawagon
 

Jan. 28 

Rev. Yoshi Kaneda
 

 

Felix

 

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