February 2023 Newsletter

Fremont United Methodist Church

We seek to share the joy of God's love so that all might live with dignity and purpose.

Calendar of Events

Planning Meeting to Feed Houseless Neighbors

Sunday, February 5th after service

Sweets & Savories - Bake Sale

Sunday, February 12th

Taoist Tai Chi

Thursdays 7 - 8pm Sign up required by using link on our web-calendar.

Stone Soup, Meet and Eat

4th Saturdays, February 25th, Noon to 3pm - All are invited

Ash Wednesday Worship

Wednesday, February 22nd, 7pm

Church Potluck and Community Conversation

Sunday, February 26th

Portland Chamber Music Free Community Concert

Fremont UMC, Saturday, March 25th, 7pm

Pastors Message

"The Season of Lent"

Greetings Fremont Family,

The month of February marks a change in season. No, not the change in season from winter to spring (not yet!), but rather, the change in season from Epiphany to Lent. Although, the two seasons (liturgical and ecological) are interrelated. Did you know that the word "Lent" comes from the Old English word "lencten" meaning "a spring season" and refers to the lengthening of days? But, I digress.

On Sunday, February 19, we will mark the end of the season of Epiphany with Transfiguration Sunday, the occasion when Jesus takes his three closest disciples with him up the mountain, and there he is transfigured, that is, changed in appearance and becomes dazzling. The occasion is significant, not only because it once again confirms (quite dramatically) Jesus' identity as God's "favored one," but also because it marks a turning point in his ministry. From that point on, Jesus begins to go toward Jerusalem and speak of his betrayal and death.

The season of Lent is our time to honestly prepare for that betrayal and death. Lent begins with Ash Wednesday on February 22. On that evening, we will gather and commit to a season of penitence (self-examination and remorse over our human tendency toward betrayal and death), and as a sign of our commitment we will mark our foreheads with ash. That, too, seems a bit dramatic, doesn't it? But, I also find it beautiful. There is so little room in our world to reflect, grieve, and lament over what is sorrowful in our lives. I, personally, need this year's Ash Wednesday, and I trust you do too.

I look forward to this change in season with you, and I pray you will find joy on the mountaintop and peace in the humility of the season of Lent.

Grace and peace,

Pastor Erin

Church Fellowship

Sweets & Savories Bake Sale

February 12th After Service

Calling all cooks and bakers….and everyone who enjoys home made goodies! Let’s start getting ready now for the Congregational Life team’s annual fundraiser. We have a goal of covering the costs of coffee, tea and other supplies that we need all year long. Our time of fellowship, following the worship service and at other events, is an important way that we open conversation with each other and our visitors. The hospitality ministry needs about $1,000 each year, and the sale is a wonderful way for everyone to support fellowship at Fremont.  

We call the bake sale “Sweets and Savories”, and we’ve timed it for Valentine’s Day, so that everyone can take home something special to share with a friend, or to enjoy at home. We can all participate…young, old, and in between; as cooks, consumers, or both.  If you are able, please bring a pre-packaged treat to church by 9:30 on February 12, ready for sale, in a container that you do not need returned. Cookies, soups, breads, jam, and brownies always sell quickly. We will help with pricing if you bring the treats. Please contact Kathy Elliott at kdelliott200@gmail.com, or 503 308-3731 if you have questions, or if you would like to help with the sale. 

Building Updates

It's wonderful to have so many people back in our building! The kids at Juniper School greet me every morning by name.

Music Together spends most mornings in the Narthex and for the first time post-pandemic will hold a six week summer session!

Tai Chi Classes: There are two Tai Chi options. For intermediate there is a class Wednesday at 10:30am. See Diane to sign up. For beginners the Taoist Tai Chi Society is offering a class Thursday at 7pm. You have to sign up here ahead of time.

Cleaning Stations: As a way to help our users (including us) clean up when done, so that the next user has a clean space. There are two cleaning stations! One is located in the Community Room (old nursery) and one is located in the bathroom in the Fellowship Hall. You can find a Swiffer wet mop, broom and dustpan to make a spot clean.

Calendar: What can you find on the calendar located on our website? The office hours that I will be in the office for one.

Community events that the public is invited to.

Church Meetings and activities that you might want to remind yourself about.

Calendar Reminders: If you would like a meeting sent out as a google calendar event let me know. People can click that they are coming and it will go on their calendar. Let's use technology!

United Women of Faith

Fremont's United Women in Faith will gather at Sarah Richardson's house, 2870 SE Tibbets St. on Wednesday, Feb. 15 at 10:00 am. Mary Wandschnieder will help with treats and Suzanne Wardenaar will provide information about the UWF reading program, to help us get started reading. Please contact Sarah at sarahrsews@gmail.com to let her know you are coming. All Fremont women are invited to join us.

In Our Community

Parish Collective - Portland

A group of us from Fremont are participating in a year-long cohort with the Parish Collective Learning Community here in Portland. Others include pastors and congregants from four other ecumenical churches. The Parish Collective statement: "When we organize the church around God’s dreams for our neighborhoods there is nothing in the world that cannot be healed, transformed, and liberated."

It's about learning a different way to be the church in our community. A different way of seeing. It's a YES to Sunday morning worship services AND to be out in community to hear our neighbors needs and see where God is already at work and to participate there.

At our last gathering we went with Pastor Joel Sommer from Access Covenant Church near Mt Scott Park. He introduced us to Malcom Shabazz Hoover (in the red cap). Malcom shared his witness of asking Jesus to save him from his addiction while contemplating suicide. His ministry is now as a master gardener and founder of a nonprofit, Black Futures Farm in SE Portland. Find them on Facebook here. Malcom leads a 'second service' Sunday afternoons in the garden. The farm provides an affinity space for black people to heal negative associations with farming. The food grown is given to food banks. What a powerful ministry he is providing!

The Five Signs of a Parish Movement.

Meaning and Mission

Planning Meeting, March 5 after Service

This is an invite to anyone interested in serving a meal to our houseless brothers and sisters. The details of Where/When/How and What will be determined by this group. Please bring your ideas and energy as we continue to be about ministry to those struggling in our communities. Look forward to seeing you 3/5/23 after church in the little meeting room. Blessings, Trudy

Deficit Budget Approved for 2023

As your Fremont Finance team met in January to plan for the coming year, members reflected on what they would say at the end of 2023, in other words, imagining the year to come. Phrases like “resilience in all its forms”; “blessings for staff and all those who enter our doors”, “hope and faith”, “re-energized with new energy” arose in the discussion, even as numbers were crunched and financial realities faced. The team celebrated the many blessings of the last year: increased building use income, a successful tree sale season, children and youth ministries seeing growth. We can all be grateful to our skilled and dedicated staff and volunteers. 

There is even more to celebrate as we review 2022, where a budget deficit of about $17,000 was anticipated. Instead, the year ended with just a $3,000 deficit to carry over, an amount in line with most year end numbers at Fremont. 

We do need to face some financial challenges for 2023. The approved budget shows an anticipated shortfall of about $28,000 but we already know additional pledges have come in so the deficit has already been reduced. Pledged income is still under last year, and utility charges are anticipated to increase among other factors. To view our approved budget click here.

What are the next steps? The Ministry Council and Finance Team are exploring reasonable and creative ways to increase income and reduce the shortfall. We’ll increase the building use, we’ll explore new grants for programming, and how about a Gospel Choir Concert?  And, as a congregation, we will continue to educate ourselves about the benefits of regular giving, not just for our Fremont budget, but for our own spiritual and personal well-being. We can do this together! 

Lenten Study

Hello Fremonters. We have gotten out of the habit of accepting the extra work to prepare for Easter and the risen Lord . Let's study the Bible and pray to correct our own lives to be in better alignment with the life we see God asking us to live. We are offering a Lenten study to combine this time of reflection and our work to unravel Racism. We will be studying the book, "I'm Black, I'm Christian, I'm Methodist" edited by Rudy Ramsus. From the book description, "Ten Black women and men explore life through the lens of compelling personal religious narratives. They are people and leaders whose lives are tangible demonstrations of the power of a divine purpose and evidence of what grace really means in the face of hardship, disappointment, and determination. Each of the journeys intersect because of three central elements that are the focus of this book. We’re Black. We’re Christians. We’re Methodists. Each starts with the fact, “I'm Black,” but to resolve the conflict of being Christian and Methodist means confronting aspects of White theology, White supremacy, and White racism in order to ground an oppositional experience toward domination over four centuries in America."  

We hope you can join us in person or on zoom. Scott Overton will lead us with the help of Trudy Pollard. We have ordered several copies of the book available for $10 in the church office. Let the office know you would like a copy. You can also order a copy  https://www.cokesbury.com/Im-Black.-Im-Christian.-Im-Methodist. Are you ready to challenge yourself this Lenten season and grow in your self understanding? We hope so, so join us! For more information contact Scott at scottod@aol.com.

Interfaith Alliance on Poverty

Article by Les Wardenaar

A few months back, I was unexpectedly reminded and deeply moved by a segment on 60 Minutes, a segment focused on Canada and its treatment of Native American children in the 19th and even 20th Century.

Children were forcibly taken from their homes and sent to large group facilities, managed by the Christian church for the purposes of rescuing the children from their “savage ways” and converting them to Christianity.

Sadly, thousands of children did not physically survive this confinement and were buried anonymously in mass gravesites. Bodies are still being recovered periodically and almost none of those bodies have been identified.

According to the story, Canada is beginning to recognize the enormity of its sins against Native Americans and to develop reparations of various sorts, recognizing, of course, that there is no real recompense for these atrocities.

I had nearly forgotten these programs, including their being enacted in the United States as well. (White Americans are remarkably good at removing the ugly past from their present consciousness). Treatment of Native Americans in the United States focused also on moving whole tribes into the confinement of reservations, often engaging in mass slaughter and some instances explicitly breaking treaty agreements that had that had initially been made. A nation that fought the Civil War with the result of freeing its slaves, simultaneously engaged in horrendous treatment of real American natives.

In a small but important step, faith communities are beginning to recognize their role in this history. Several of the Alliance’s congregations begin their services with land acknowledgements. The ones I have heard focus on the word “unceded,” meaning that the faith community’s land was stolen – not gifted, not purchased, but stolen – and “grieving” over those actions. Measured against our past, these acknowledgements may seem wholly inadequate but they signify a process of lament that experts say must precede actions to repair.

Some faith communities have taken another step, actually giving back land, as with the Presbyterian church and the developing “Barbie’s Village,” a planned village for Native Americans on the property of the former Laurelhurst Presbyterian, which will use the central building for support services and the surrounding area for tiny homes.

I think we all understand that such actions are not nearly enough. But keeping our past in the forefront of our present represents an admission and a beginning.

Our Greater UMC Family News

Meet our New Bishop, Cedrick Bridgeforth

Bishop Cedrick Bridgeforth sat down for an interview after his election at the Western Jurisdictional Conference, Nov. 2-5, in Salt Lake City, Utah. In this interview he talks about his hopes to bring skills of collaboration, outreach, pastoral care, communication, clergy coaching and more to his role as the episcopal leader for the Greater Northwest Area.

Note from Diane: I encourage you to watch! He speaks about his vision of how we move forward into being a church that serves the needs in this time of transformation.

UMCOR update for Ukraine Response


Fremonter Details

Fremont Newsletter Articles and Production 

The Fremonter Newsletter has always been a critical part of how we communicate, worship, prayer and celebrate together. We would love to encourage everyone to contribute articles to the monthly news letter. Interested in sharing, here is how and when to do it. 

  • Fremonter articles are always due the 4th Friday of each month; for example: articles for December 2022 are due Friday November 25th. 
  • Need a couple more days? That's ok, just contact Diane and let her know you will be submitting a piece.

  • Please submit your articles in a simple word or google document - if you have photos you would like included, attach them to the email. Do not put them in the article.