Happening Now Blog

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Pastor's Wednesday Message

After a couple of rousing Easter Sunday worship services, I want to give a shout-out to the choir, the band, and Director of Music Jon Quesenberry. The music on Sunday was impressively good.  So I want to say thank you and God bless you all for your fine ministry.  I've served churches in the mid-Atlantic seaboard states, in the Midwest, and in Portland.  SOV's choir is probably the best of many different choirs I've heard.  "Best" is measured here by happy combination of strong voices, musical skill, and enthusiasm for singing.  I always enjoy their singing and feel grateful for what they bring to the worship experience at SOV.  The band is equally good.  What a blessing to have excellent musicians like Dan Nichols on bass and Brian Barlow on drums almost every week!  And the skilled guest musicians Jon brings in occasionally add so much beauty to the service, as the three string players did on Easter Sunday.  I've heard lots of different musicians in church settings.  Often they're just so-so, to be honest.  Not here.  I consider SOV very fortunate to have the benefit of these dedicated and accomplished musicians.  Finally, Director of Music Jon Quesenberry — I feel blessed to be planning worship with Jon every week.  He's not only a gifted musician and composer, he's a joy to work with.  I couldn't ask for a better partner.  I trust that when a new pastor is called to serve SOV, she or he will be as grateful to work with Jon as I am.  If you feel similarly appreciative, I encourage you to say a word of thanks to choir & band & Jon.  Your expressions of gratitude will rise like prayers to heaven and make God's ears glad.

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Lessons for Sunday, April 3, 2016
Acts 5:27-32
Revelation 1:4-8
John 20:19-31

THIS WEEK

Wednesday    9:00 - 1:00 p KOK Preschool/Chapel
                      10:00 a Bible Study

Thursday       9:00 - 1:00 p KOK Preschool

Friday            9:00 - 12:00 p KOK Preschool

Saturday       10:00 - 11:30 a Choir Practice

Sunday          8:30 & 11:00 a worship
                      No Confirmation
                      Scrip Sunday

Looking ahead:

Tuesday, April 5th
Ladies Dinner  6:00 pm

Bugatti's at Tanasbourne
Please RSVP to Secretary Tammy

Wednesday, April 6th
Men's Night   6:00 pm

Reedville Cafe
No RSVP needed

Thursday, April 7th
MOVIE NIGHT  "Jesus Christ Superstar"
6:00 - 8:30 pm

We will begin the evening with a soup/bread/sandwich potluck. Come early (5:30) for dinner or arrive at 6:00 pm for the movie.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Pastor's Wednesday Message

Holy Week would make a good ghost story.  Maundy Thursday and Good Friday tell of a festive supper gone badly wrong, ending in horrific death followed by the uncanny appearance of the murdered hero.  Ambitious friends gather anticipating grand success: a kingdom awaits, if they play it right.  But Jesus, usually so stable, behaves oddly.  Their leader starts acting like a servant; on the verge of stunning success, he predicts his downfall.  Unbeknownst to most of the revelers, heinous betrayal awaits.  A trusted advisor seals treason with a kiss in a remote garden.  Far from supportive crowds, Jesus is arrested.  Rapidly he's arraigned, convicted, tortured, killed.  But after burial, his tomb is found empty.  Someone who resembles Jesus starts making inexplicable, alarming appearances to those who failed and abandoned him.  Vampire?  Zombie?  Vengeful ghost?

Such weird creatures intrigue those who thrill to paranormal tales of the crypt.  But Easter takes a good ghost story and turns it on its head.  The arisen Jesus assures his friends he's not a ghost.  We should believe him.  Ghost stories arouse acute dread and chronic anxiety.  Jesus' story from beyond the grave inspires delirious joy and persistent celebration.  Ghost stories cause us to cower and hide.  But the story of Jesus rising from the dead provokes bold speech and audacious action.  Far from a vengeful ghost who brings terror and death, Jesus resurrected brings a Spirit of reconciliation and life.

People are storytellers.  We sit around the campfire at night, or around the dinner table, and tell our kids what they should know to grow up whole, good, and beautiful.  Why tell them stories like they see on TV about vampires, zombies, and ghosts when we can tell true tales of the crypt about Jesus?  Holy Week is our campfire, our storytelling place, where we and our kids hear about Jesus who lives now beyond the grave and whose ongoing journey puts all our stories in a whole new light.  Come to church on these special days and you will get some good holy ghost stories truly worth hearing.

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Lessons for Easter Sunday, March 27, 2016
Isaiah 65:17-25
1 Corinthians 15:19-26
John 20:1-18

THIS WEEK

Wednesday  No Bible Study
                    7:00 - 8:00 p SOV Choir rehearsal
     
Thursday     7:00 p  Maundy Thursday Service

Friday          12:00 p Good Friday Service
                    7:00 p  Good Friday Service

Saturday      10:00 - 11:30 a SOV Choir rehearsal

Sunday        8:30 & 11:00 a Easter Celebration Services
                    9:45 a Easter Breakfast


Looking ahead:

Tuesday, April 5th
Ladies Dinner
6:00 p
Bugatti's at Tanasbourne

Wednesday, April 6th (Wednesday night in April only)
Men's Night
6:00 p
Reedville Cafe

Thursday, April 7th
Movie Night at SOV
Jesus Christ Superstar
6:00-8:30 p

Friday, March 18, 2016

Pastor's Wednesday Message

The high drama of this election season holds us spellbound.  In an election year unlike any other, we wonder who will emerge as the President of this nation.  Because many Americans have been deeply shaped by the biblical story, we tend to project the Bible's messianic hope onto our elected leaders.  Voters often cast their ballots for someone they think will save us from the imagined apocalyptic disaster headed toward us from the end of the political spectrum opposite that of the voter's own preferences.  The election results thus bring dancing and singing to one side but sackcloth and ashes to the other because either the savior or the antichrist has gained the highest elected office.

So the mistaken imagination goes.  Those, however, who read the Bible and think about it recognize that the real Savior has already been elected by God and has taken office in our hearts.  Jesus has freed us from the delusion that any elected politician could be as good or evil as some would have us suppose.  Because Jesus is the Messiah, no one else can be.  We shouldn't pretend any President can set all things right.  Likewise, no elected President can be so bad as to destroy the nation — not all by themselves, anyway.  No President is evil incarnate.  God gave away that job long ago.  If we think the newly elected President is bad news, we shouldn't move to Canada or flee to some other refuge.  Because Jesus is the one who's won our hearts and minds, we follow him.  He will be found now in the suffering of the poor and the misery of the dispossessed, as he was in Galilee long ago. So we stick around, too, and do works of mercy and justice by which we will hope to clean up the mess we've helped to make.  And by which we will bear witness that Jesus, and no other, is our Lord.  That will bring us enough drama to last a lifetime.

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Lessons for Palm Sunday
Zechariah 9:9-10
Psalm 1181-2,18-29
Luke 19:41-48

THIS WEEK

Wednesday    9:00 - 1:00 p KOK Preschool/chapel
                      10:00 a Bible Study
                      5:30 p Lenten soup/bread potluck supper
                      6:00 - 7:00 p Jesus Christ Super Star movie and discussion

Thursday       9:00 - 1:00 p KOK Preschool
                     10:00 a LLL

Friday          9:00 - 12:00 p KOK Preschool
                    1:00 p Palmeter Piano Studio

Saturday     10:00 - 11:30 a SOV choir rehearsal

Sunday        8:30 & 11:00 a Palm Sunday Services


Holy Week Schedule

Palm Sunday Services     8:30 & 11:00 am
March 20th

Maundy Thursday Service 7:00 pm
March 24th

Good Friday Services     12:00 pm & 7:00 pm
March 25th

Easter Sunday Services  8:30 & 11:00 am
Easter Breakfast              9:45 - 10:30 am
March 27th

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Pastor's Wednesday Message

Sunday we will welcome three people into membership at SOV.  At the late service Rachel, Fritz, and Grace will go through the "Affirmation of Baptism" ritual by which we ELCA Lutherans welcome new members.  All three of them have been attending SOV for several months.  The Holy Spirit has moved them to strengthen their connection with this church.  I thank God for them.  Each of them brings unique personal gifts.  Each of them brings a share of the Holy Spirit's power and grace.  I count their decision to join SOV not only as an affirmation of their faith in Jesus Christ, but also as an affirmation of ministry and community at Shepherd of the Valley.  Though there have been challenges recently regarding Shepherd's ability to sustain loving and respectful community, it's clear that people new to this congregation experience a hearty welcome, heartfelt worship, and good spiritual nurture.  And that reflects the love, the dedication, and the excitement of God's people at Shepherd of the Valley.  This is a very good thing!

Now that these folks have decided to stick around, I encourage you to continue welcoming them into the SOV's community life.  If you haven't already introduced yourself, please take a moment to greet them and get to know them.  You'll discover their gifts, and come to know how they want to join in, to serve, to enjoy this congregation.  Please help them do those things.  It's really important that we help these new members to find a spot, a meaningful niche in this Body of Christ.  When we do that, new members tend to be happy campers who remain part of the church for years to come.  This makes the church stronger, too.  It's a win-win.  So please join me in welcoming Grace, Rachel, and Fritz – giving thanks to God for all the goodness given and received at SOV.

* * * * * * *

Lessons for Sunday, March 13, 2016
Isaiah 43:16-21
Philippians 3:4b-14
John 12:1-8

THIS WEEK

Wednesday   9:00 - 1:00 p KOK Preschool/Chapel
                     10:00 a Bible Study
                     5:30 pm Lenten Soup/Bread potluck Supper
                     6:00 - 7:00 p Lenten movie and discussion

Thursday     9:00 - 1:00 p KOK Preschool
                    7:00 p LLL

Friday         9:00 - 12:00 p KOK Preschool
                   1:00 - 9:00 p Palmeter Piano Studio

Saturday    10:00 - 11:30   SOV choir rehearsal
                  Daylight Savings time...move your clocks forward one hour!

Sunday      8:30 & 11:00 a Worship Services
                  10:00 a   Adult education class                   


Lenten Worship Schedule

Wednesday Lenten Soup Suppers/Devotion
March 9 &16
soup/bread potluck supper 5:30, devotion 6:00 - 7:00 p

Palm Sunday
March 20th, services at 8:30 & 11:00 am

Maundy Thursday
March 24th, service at 7:00 pm

Good Friday
March 25th, services at 11:30 am & 7:00 pm

Easter Sunday
March 27th, services at 8:30 & 11:00 am
Youth group breakfast 9:45 - 10:30 am

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Pastor's Wednesday Message

The Youth Group is alive and well at SOV!  Last Spring, I wasn't sure I'd be able to share such good news once we got to 2016.  It looked possible that career opportunities and demands of family life might steer our two adult Youth Group leaders in directions other than youth ministry.  But God provides!  After a profoundly good experience taking Youth Group members to the ELCA National Youth Gathering in Detroit, happy developments made it possible for Stacey and Caitlin, the two leaders, to carry on in that role.  I'm so glad they did.

Last August, Stacey met with me to say the Detroit trip inspired her so much that she really wanted to invest herself in ministry with SOV's Youth Group.  Among other issues we discussed, she wondered if there might be youth ministry partners among the ELCA churches in west suburban Portland.  Fortunately, just a few days prior to that meeting one of my clergy colleagues (Pastor Laurie from Mission of the Atonement) told me that plans were brewing to gather youth groups from this suburban area into a West Side collaborative youth ministry.  Laurie wondered if SOV might be willing to join in.  The answer turned out to be a resounding "yes!"  Now SOV's Youth Group not only participates, but Stacey and Caitlin also have become shakers and movers in the West Side group.  And that group provides a strong connection with the Oregon Lutheran Youth Organization (OLYO) which has a several significant events every year for Oregon Synod youth groups across the state.

At the same time, our SOV Youth Group continues its own busy schedule of activities. Here are some of the things that our group has participated in during the last few months: preparing & delivering Thanksgiving baskets at SOV; Christmas Party & trip to a concert at the Grotto in Portland (West Side group); Christmas baby-sitting night at SOV; overnight service event at First Immanuel in NW Portland to learn about issues facing homeless women and children (West Side group); Shrove Tuesday Pancake supper, Valentine's Day baby-sitting night (SOV); and a retreat at Camp Lutherwood (OLYO).  All this plus several movie & pizza gatherings for SOV's group. Then there's the special upcoming event – a concert by Lutheran hip-hop evangelist Agape at Community of ChristChurch (Highway 26 & Cornelius Pass Rd.) this Sunday, March 6, starting at 5:30 p.m. This concert is a joint effort of the ELCA, OLYO, and the West Side youth group.

That's an impressive amount of activity.  It's good ministry, good community, and really good work by our adult Youth leaders Stacey and Caitlin.  Let's all say a prayer of thanks to God for their ministry with SOV's kids and for the contribution they're making to the nurture of Lutheran youth in the west suburbs.  Good things happen when SOV gets connected with neighboring Lutheran congregations to support one another in ministry and mission!

* * * * * * *

Lessons for Sunday, March 6th
2 Corinthians 5:16-21
Psalm 32
Luke 15:1-3, 11b-32

THIS WEEK

Wednesday   9:00 - 1:00 p      KOK Preschool/chapel
                     5:30 p               Lenten Soup/Bread potluck supper
                     6:00 - 7:00 p      Lenten Devotion movie/discussion

Thursday      9:00 - 1:00 p      KOK Preschool
                     6:00 p               Men's Night at Reedville Cafe

Friday          9:00 - 12:00 p     KOK Preschool
                    1:00 - 9:00 p       Palmeter Piano Studio

Saturday      10:00 - 11:30 a    SOV Choir rehearsal
                 
Sunday        8:30 & 11:00 a    Worship Services
                   10:00 a                Adult Education Class
                   6:00 - 7:30 p        Confirmation Class


March newsletter is available on line...
http://www.sovlutheran.com/news/pdf/march2016.pdf

Memorial Service for former SOV member
Al Jerde
April 2, 2016, 2:00 pm
Calvary Lutheran Church
937 NE Jackson School Rd, Hillsboro, OR 97124
http://www.hillsborocalvarylutheran.org/
(503) 648-5686

Scrip Order this Sunday, March 6th