Happening Now Blog

Friday, April 29, 2016

Pastor's Wednesday Message

I'm off to Synod Assembly later this week. This year it's in Eugene at the Valley River Inn starting Friday 1:00 p.m., and ending Sunday around noon with the closing worship service.
 
What happens at a Synod Assembly? Some if it is inspiring worship. Some is presentations in plenary about ministries carried out by congregations around the synod. Usually presentations include information about how to do this in your own setting. Likewise, there are workshops on practices to strengthen congregational ministries — stewardship, Christian Education, administration, financial management, effective use of social media, networking with other institutions in your neighborhood for effective outreach, etc. Some of it deals with the business of running the synod — budgets, resolutions, committees, synod-wide projects (for example, the pilgrimage to the Holy Land we sponsored a couple years ago). An important part is fellowship: building Christian community with people from other congregations whom you might not otherwise get to know. Here in Oregon with its vast geographic and cultural divide east/west of the Cascades, Christian community is important.
 
For example, there is a congregation of the Oregon Synod in Burns (Peace Lutheran), which found itself at the center of events related to the illegal occupation of the Malheur Wildlife Refuge. Since their building is across the street from the Harney County Courthouse, they were cordoned off inside the security perimeter set up to protect county government workers from terrorist attacks. I'm sure we'll hear Peace Lutheran members and their pastor tell stories about life within the security lockdown during the wildlife refuge occupation. Synod Assembly is a place where members of congregations from all over this big state of Oregon can hear stories from our brothers and sisters who were under siege. Our careful listening, our prayers, and our affirmation will help to support them in their recovery from a seriously traumatic experience. When you're in a tough situation, as is still the case in Harney County, it helps to know you're part of a larger system (the Church and its Lord) who knows and cares about you. That's one of the values of Christian community nurtured through our mutual commitment to the Oregon Synod.
 
This year, I'll be going to the Assembly by myself. That's because we forgot to include expenses for lay voting members in the 2016 budget. Next year the budget should include a line for the two lay voting members as well as for your new pastor to go to the Synod Assembly in Portland. Elections for the two lay voting members should take place at the congregational meeting next January. If you feel moved to serve by representing SOV at next year's Assembly, please let the Council President know of your interest. It's a great way to grow with God and strengthen the whole Body of Christ.
 
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Lessons for Sunday, May 1, 2016
Acts 16:9-15
Revelation 21:10, 22-22:5
John 14:23-29

THIS WEEK

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

Thursday      9:00 - 1:00 p KOK Preschool
                    12:00 p All Church Luncheon All are invited

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
                    2:00 - 5:00 p Private Event  (Sandra Carasco)

Sunday       8:30 & 11:00 a Worship Services
                   Guest Pastor Gary Graffwallner   (Pastor Brian is away at Synod Assembly)
                   10:00 a Adult Education Class by Pastor Gary Graffwallner "How do you share your faith?"
                   Scrip order Sunday

Join the mission. Join a committee. Serve God by volunteering your energy to SOV. Consider inviting a friend to work with. To learn more about serving, all are invited to attend the Committee Fair in the narthex after service.

Scrip Sunday, May 1st
NEW See's promotion! 5oz boxes of See's Peanut Brittle.
Only $4 a box, and your group makes $1 for each sold.
This promotion will go into June.
Macy's Friends and Family day is coming soon, buy your scrip now!

Ladies Dinner
Inviting all Ladies to our monthly Dinner
Tuesday, May 3rd
6:00 pm
Mazatlán Mexican Restaurant
1435 NW 185th Ave, Beaverton, OR
Please RSVP to Tammy

Men's Night
Thursday, May 5th
Reedville Cafe
2947 SE 73rd Ave Hillsboro

KOK Spring Family Day
Saturday, May 7th 10:00 - 12:00 pm
Registration for the coming school year will be available.
Open to current students  and families interested in experiencing KOK.
Come enjoy a morning of play, art and a special snack.

Join us Saturday, May 7 at 2-4 PM
Baby Shower for Adlyn
Gifts are optional.  
Come and help us welcome Adlyn to her SOV church family.
Dessert, punch and coffee will be served.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Pastor's Wednesday Message

This Friday the Call Committee will receive names of clergy candidates. The CC will meet with Pastor Susan Kintner, Assistant to the Bishop. She will bring names of maybe three or four pastors whom she believes would be a good match for SOV. I hope you will join me in thanking God for this exciting gift. What a great opportunity this is for the Call Committee to enter into conversation with several candidates who have been carefully considered and diligently vetted by the Oregon Synod staff. This offering of candidates for SOV represents the fruit of many hours of reading résumés, making phone calls, asking questions, talking with colleagues, praying to God, and then deciding on a slate of candidates that will give the CC good options from which to choose. Receiving these pastors as candidates who might be called to serve SOV is something to celebrate.

What comes next? Well, you should expect to get some information from the Call Committee — but not very much, yet. They have agreed to keep the names of these clergy candidates confidential. It's likely that these pastors will presently be serving other congregations. If word were to get back to those churches that their pastor is considering a different call, it would harm the ministry there. Nor would we want SOV members to act as cheerleaders for one candidate or another, should one or more of these pastors already be known by our members. That would make it really hard for the Call Committee to carry out their responsibilities in a good way. So none of us outside the Call Committee, me included, should know the identity of these candidates before the CC is ready to share useful information with us. Please support the CC in keeping these pastors' names confidential.

In the next several weeks, the Call Committee will carefully consider each of the candidates whose résumés they receive. They will have lots of reading to do, information to check, interviews to conduct, decisions to make. Please be patient while they do this important spiritual work. The results will be worth the wait. At some point in the next few months, the Call Committee will let you know how you can take a more active role in making important decisions about who will be called to serve as SOV's next pastor. Until then, please keep the Call Committee and the congregation in prayer — frequently — just to make sure God remembers to pay attention and do a good job in this process!

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Lessons for Sunday, April 24th
Acts 11:1-18
Revelation 21:1-6
John 13:31-35

THIS WEEK

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

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

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

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Pastor's Wednesday Message

Why does Easter come on different dates every year?  Unlike Christmas, set according to the solar calendar as December 25, Easter is set according to a lunar calendar.  This is similar to ancient Jewish traditions for calculating the occurrence of religious festivals.  The rule for Easter is: "The first Sunday after the first full moon following the Spring equinox."  Because the moon runs on a schedule different than the solar calendar, the date of Easter varies from year to year, anywhere from March 22 to April 25.  Thus, Easter Sunday is a "movable feast," as are others following Easter.  The Feast of the Ascension always falls on a Thursday, the fortieth day after Easter.  The Day of Pentecost falls on the fiftieth day after Easter, which is a Sunday. Trinity Sunday is always the first after Pentecost.

Other important Sundays in the Church Year are set with reference to Easter.  Doubting Thomas visits every year on the Second Sunday of Easter.  And the Fourth Sunday of Easter is always "Good Shepherd Sunday."  That's a few days from now, on April 17.  Scripture readings include Psalm 23 — "The Lord is my Shepherd…" — beloved by Christians for two thousand years.  And we have the beautiful text from Revelation 7, which tells that those who have come through "the great ordeal" gather before the throne of God worshiping day and night.  They hunger and thirst no more, it says, "for the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd, and he will guide them to the springs of the water of life."  In John's gospel, Jesus says, "My sheep hear my voice.  I know them, and they follow me."  Jesus is the Good Shepherd.

Has Jesus been a Good Shepherd for you?  Probably each of us has a story of how the Good Shepherd has walked us through the valley of the shadow of death.  How has Jesus guided you to the springs of the water of life?  Have you heard the Good Shepherd's voice calling and guiding to save you from the wolves who circle 'round and size you up as their own movable feast?  Please meditate on these things as Sunday approaches.  It will help you feel the Good Shepherd's guiding hand even as you flock to church at [Good] Shepherd of the Valley.  The date of Good Shepherd Sunday may vary, but the Good Shepherd's loving care will invariably lead and guide you to abundant life.

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Lessons for Sunday, April 17, 2016
Acts 9:36-43
Psalm 23
Revelation 7:9-17
John 10:22-30

THIS WEEK

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

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 a Choir rehearsal

Sunday          8:30 & 11:00 a Worship services
                     Scrip Sunday
                     6:00 - 7:30 p Confirmation class

May 7th
10:00 - 12:00 p
KOK Spring Family Day
Come enjoy a morning of play, art and a special snack
Registration is open for the coming school year, if you or someone you know has a preschooler,
come and see what KOK is all about. Event taking place in the lower level at KOK school area.

May 7th
2:00 - 4:00 p
Baby Shower for Monica and Subash's and their new baby girl Adlyn
This is a co-ed event all are invited.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Pastor's Wednesday Message

In my Easter sermon I talked about "doing resurrection."  One way of applying that notion is taking action to bring life out of death.  Churches are well equipped to do this.  Especially when we're connected with a national church denomination — the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) — that has such a strong history of overseas mission work, disaster relief, and robust international connections through the Lutheran World Federation.

With that in mind, I want to lift up the plight of Syrian refugees as an opportunity to "do resurrection."  I've been struck by the enormity of the disaster.  We're talking about millions of displaced persons, internally and outside of Syria.  Some go to nearby nations like Lebanon and Jordan — themselves ill-equipped to handle an influx of such magnitude.  Other Syrians go west: Turkey, Greece, Macedonia, eastern Europe, Germany, Sweden. The poverty, precariousness, misery, and hopelessness we witness among these refugees is arresting.  Heartbreaking.  In many cases, deadly.  Can we — People of the Resurrection — work some resurrection here?

Consider the following appeal put out last autumn by the ELCA:

A record number of refugees and migrants from the Middle East are fleeing war and poverty and making a terrifying, life-threatening journey to find a safer, better way of life in Europe. Although they come from different countries, for various reasons, they share a common goal: hope for a brighter future. As conflicts continue, especially in Syria and Iraq, the number of people seeking safety and basic necessities is on the rise.  As a church, we are called to respond. Lutheran Disaster Response is committed to meeting basic humanitarian needs and upholding the rights of those fleeing war and crisis. We are working with our companion churches – the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Hungary and the Slovak Evangelical Lutheran Church of the Augsburg Confession in Serbia – and The Lutheran World Federation to provide food, diapers, blankets, water, health kits, hygiene kits and psychosocial services to assist those who have fled their homes. We are also in communication with our church companions in Germany as they receive tens of thousands of refugees. Your prayers and support are needed now for immediate relief. Gifts designated for the Middle East and Europe Refugee Crisis will be used in full (100 percent) to assist those directly impacted by this crisis. Thank you.

If you don't have the time and expertise to go to the camps and help out yourself, you can donate money through the ELCA, a trusted partner in disaster relief.  Here are a couple links:

Donations: https://community.elca.org/middle-east-and-europe-refugee-crisis

Middle East Refugee Crisis – background and related links: http://www.elca.org/Our-Work/Relief-and-Development/Lutheran-Disaster-Response/Our-Impact/Middle-East-and-Europe-Refugee

Here's your chance to help people who will never be able to pay you back (Matt. 6:2-4).  May the Spirit move you to join Jesus in this work of resurrection.

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Lessons for Sunday, April 10th
Acts 9:1-20
Revelation 5:11-14
John 21:1-19

THIS WEEK

Wednesday  9:00 - 1:00 p KOK Preschool/Chapel
                   10:00 a  Bible Study
                    6:00 p  Men's Nigh at Reedville Cafe

Thursday     9:00 - 1:00 p KOK Preschool
                    6:00 - 8:30 p  Movie Night
                          Jesus Christ Superstar
                          (potluck soup/bread/supper potluck begins at 5:30 p)

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

Saturday    10:00 - 11:30 a SOV Choir practice
                   6:00 - 9:00 p SOV Youth Movie Night
                                       Westside High School Collective group
                                       bring a snack to share and invite a friend!

Sunday    8:30 & 11:00 a Worship Services
                6:00 - 7:30 p Confirmation Class


Please join us for Movie Night
Thursday, April 7th
5:30 p  soup, bread, sandwich potluck
6:00 - 8:30 p Movie Jesus Christ Superstar

Jesus Christ Superstar emphasizes: The humanness of Jesus, the way that He appeared as one of us even to those of his closest followers. They recognized Him as something more, and yet because He had human shape and because they knew Him as a man, they still had trouble wrapping their minds around the idea of Jesus as God. If we put ourselves in that position of having trouble believing our spirits rather than our eyes, that's when the miracle of Easter has its greatest effect on us. We who know the risen Lord sometimes take his risen-ness for granted – but if we put ourselves in the position of those who thought all their dreams had died on Good Friday, then Easter's glory can really, truly change us in the same way a confused Mary Magdalene sings about being changed not just in little ways, but indeed into "someone else." And not just someone else, but someone better.

Easter should likewise change us all. We now are offered, through the risen Christ, both redemption and eternal life no matter how we sometimes suffer on Earth. Despite Magdalene's confusion, Jesus is not "just a man." And, because of Easter, neither are we. We now can recognize the truth that we are spirit as well, spirit and everlasting soul. We are "changed, yes really changed." And in that change, as Jesus told the Apostles (John 20:21), "Peace be unto you." (pjmedia.com)

Saturday, April 9th
Youth Movie night
Westside High School Collective Group
6:00 - 9:00 pm at SOV