I have missed preaching this month! Only one July Sunday has found me in a pulpit and I LOVE teaching Luke 10 - the lectionary Gospel for this month! It is a lens for my personal and pastoral theology. So I thought this might be a good place to share a sampling. (If you have not been reading Luke in church this month, it might be helpful for you to take a look at
The Sending of the Seventy (Two) - Jesus sends out a number of non-disciple people to share his peace and do the work of the kingdom in pairs with some very specific instructions about what to take and not take and where to stay and not stay. There are messages of hospitality and blessings as well as words of woe. More interpretively speaking, there is advice on where to expend energy and where you should understand your call was to plant seeds and another will water. I may only be a planter, a water-er, a harvester or a soil tiller. I do my part so that others can do theirs, and as is often the case, I don't know the whole story and can't see the whole picture, but I can trust my call from God and do my part. I also appreciate the message to my ego regarding that which I should rejoice! "Do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven." (v. 20)
The Good Samaritan - Ah, "who is my neighbor?" the expert in the law asked Jesus. (v.25) Everyone. But that is the teaching we lean on, who are those in the ditch today? Who are the priests? The Levites? The Samaritans? TODAY? This is a rich trove of teaching from Jesus! I like to do this passage in lectio divina (sacred reading) listening for God's voice to me in certain situations. I will often pray this text for multiple days in a row as I ask who am I in the parable and what is God asking of me in this time and place. Some days I am convicted finding myself on the other side of the road, some days I am called and am digging deep for resources to assist and some days, I am in the ditch wounded and waiting on another to stop.
With Mary and Martha - So often I am Martha! I am busy and "worried and upset about many things" (v. 41) and I need to give myself and others around me permission to do the one thing that matters - sit with and listen to Jesus. While there is much that could be said here, I will boil it down to: only by sitting and listening can we truly know what ministry work there is to be done. These verses bring the chapter full circle because in the first verses, Jesus is clear with his instructions to those he calls and sends. We have to be listening in order to know what we are to be busy about doing.
As you pray this week, listen like Mary for God's call to you in this time and place. My prayer is that God might speak as clearly to you as Jesus' instructions to those in the beginning of this passage. Is there a scripture that speaks this deeply to your everyday life and decisions? How might you talk about it with others?
Rev. Nora Foust
Associate Conference Minister Congregational and Ministerial Excellence
United Church of Christ Disaster Ministries has extended the deadline to December 31, 2019, for UCC congregations assembling Church World Service Emergency Cleanup Buckets to apply for UCC Matching Grants of up to $250.
In the next several eNews, we will review narrative budgets. It is a great time to be thinking and talking about your 2020 budget in your church and narrative budgets can be a great way to talk about the future, your mission and ministry!
Clergy, Please Help Us Stay in Contact with Our Treasurers!
We are building a database of treasurer's email addresse
s so that we can give the treasurers a "heads up" as to special offerings, best ways to get their donations to us, and also give them easy access to ask US questions they may have. Please sign up here.
If you do not have a treasurer's
email, we recommend that you set up an email address for your treasurer using your church's email. (For example: email@example.com ) That way, when there is change in the treasurer position - the email still gets to the church to a treasurer's attention, and the church office can easily internally be sure that email gets forwarded to the proper/current treasurer.
Advent Planning - NEW
Please join us for time with colleagues,
reflection and collaborative exploration.
We will be envisioning worship, dedicating time to plan for the seasons as well as spend time pooling our resources and thoughts.
Installations, Ecclesiastical Councils and Ordinations
July 20 - Ordination of Rev. Scott Siciliano at Colonial Park UCC, Harrisburg - 3:00 PM
September 22- Installation of Rev. Tony Fields at Christ Church UCC, Annville - 3:00 PM
Tea with MOM
August 25th: How Shall We Approve Individuals for Ministry?
3:00-4:30 PM at Lancaster Theological Seminary Dietz Hall Refectory (Gypsy Kitchen)
Join us for a facilitated discussion about how the preparation for authorization might be changing in light of the new Manual on Ministry. We will explore the possibilities of multiple paths and how they work. We will also discuss the potential new assessment committee to be formed at the Conference setting for assessment of all Members in Discernment.
We promise great food from the Gypsy Kitchen and stimulating dialog with colleagues! Please register in advance and we look forward to hearing your reflections on this critical topic for the church.
Craft Building Donations
Some of us are working on a plan that would make the work on the Craft Building cost effective AND by volunteer labor. First, this story...
In 2007, Eli Frailey, 5 year old son of Deb and Peter Frailey died as a result of an accident. That same year, Abigail Butz, 10 month old daughter of Kristine and Tim Butz died of a rare disease. Both families had been, and continue to be, outstanding leaders in summer camping programs at Hartman Center. In fact, that following year, 2008, both the Fraileys and the Butzs directed Family Camps. This summer, Kristine and Tim Butz are directing Getting Started Camp and an Intergenerational Camp. Deb Frailey is directing Arts and Crafts Camp.
The Craft Shop at Hartman Center is a place filled with memories. Over the years, every camper in our summer program has spent time there creating artistic expressions, using the most natural of items, like rocks (to paint), or recycled materials (making treasures out of trash). Today, the Craft Shop, while structurally sound, is in need of a new roof, new windows, and some inside renovation so that future campers can continue to make memories there.
This year, 2019, Eli Frailey would have been graduating from high school. Abigail Butz would be in middle school. When the families were approached with the idea of making renovations to the Craft Shop in memory of Eli and Abigail, everyone liked the idea. What better way to raise funds and garner the support of volunteer workers to provide the labor for the work needed?
How much would be needed? We estimate $7,000 would get the job done. The thought of having a GO FUND ME appeal was considered, BUT we didn't want to have to spend money to raise money. We believe that by using our own Hartman Center website and especially the Hartman Center Facebook page, we can raise the dollars needed. Any funds raised in excess of the Craft Shop project will be used for renovations of Michaux Lodge.
No contribution is too small. Make checks payable to Penn Central Conference and send them to Penn Central Conference, 900 S. Arlington Ave. Rm. 227A, Harrisburg, PA 17109.
We expect renovations to made this summer and early fall with a special dedication to occur at the Hartman Center Fall Festival, October 12, 2019.