Happening Now Blog

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Pastor's Wednesday Messages

from Pastor Brian

All Saints' Sunday comes soon, November 2.  On All Saints', we give thanks for those who have been most important in shaping our faith — whether they've departed this life or still grace the Earth with their presence.  This morning, I started to think about who's in my personal communio sanctorum.  Who are those saints who've been most important for me?

The first person I think of is Ellis Waggoner, a young pastor at the church where I grew up in Appleton, Wisconsin.  He was there only a year but his enthusiasm for God and passion for justice made a big impression on me.  He's probably the reason I got interested in being a pastor.  It doesn't surprise me that I heard, a few years later, that he died while serving as a missionary.  He was the sort of person who would put his life at risk for the sake of his faith.

Another of my special saints was Bengt Hoffman, a pastor from the Church of Sweden and a professor of Ethics during my brief stay at Gettysburg Seminary long ago.  When I found myself stranded in an uncongenial seminary culture and stuck in an unwelcoming civic community, Bengt gave me hope and light.  I think we found mutual encouragement – we were both out of step with the spirituality and theology shared by most folks at the seminary.  He gave me courage to disagree with the majority report, and to strike out on a different path according to my sense of God's calling.

Martin Luther King, Jr. is among my communion of saints as well.  His work as a Christian pastor and civil rights leader building an inclusive movement of non-violent social change inspires me.  Indeed, I chose to write my Ph.D. dissertation in Christian Ethics on his understanding of redemptive suffering and its relationship to building "the Beloved Community" in America and across the world.  King's ministry gives me hope that people of good will can still work together across dividing lines, so that we can address the pressing problems of racial prejudice, economic exploitation, political disenfranchisement, and spiritual demoralization that so beset us today.

Finally, my spouse, Jill James, stands with the rest in my hall of saintly fame.  Her resilience in the face of repeated adversity, her deep and expansive spirituality, her gifts as an ordained minister (in hospital chaplaincy), her abundant good will, and her compassion for all who suffer — these virtues along with her steadfast love renew me in the power of God's Holy Spirit with each new day.

Well, I've told you who's in my personal communio sanctorum.  Who's in yours?  I invite you to take some time this week to reflect on those who've been most important in your faith formation — and to thank God for them.

* * * * * * *

From Pastor Randy

"The words of Jeremiah son of Hilkiah, of the priests who were in Ananthoth in the land of Benjamin to whom the word of the Lord came in the days of King Josiah son of Amon of Judah, in the thirteenth year of his reign.  It came also in the days of King Jehoiakim son of Josiah, king of Judah, and until the end of the eleventh year of King Zedakiah son of Josiah, king of Judah, until the captivity o Jerusalem in the fifth month.

 Now the word of the Lord came to me saying,
 "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations."  Then I said, "Ah, Lord God!  Truly I do not know how to speak, for I am only a youth'" for to all to whom I send you you shall go, and whatever I command you you shall speak. Be not afraid of them, for I am with you to deliver you, says the Lord."
Jeremiah 1:1-8

          This past Reformation Sunday, October 26th six of our young women (girls if you please) took part in the Rite of Confirmation.  They did what they thought they couldn't do.  But with great fear and trembling they spoke to us of their faith.  I fully believe that God was present with them and also believe it may have helped when we told them in unison "We want the best for you".  Confirmation has long been a rite in the Lutheran church.  Sadly it also seems to have long been a tradition that when young people are confirmed they are done with the church.  I pray that that is not the case for Amber, Emily, Taylor, Colleen, Anita and Marissa.  May we continue to let them know that we want the very best for them in any way we can, including, engaging them in conversation and supporting their efforts to go to Detroit for the National Lutheran Youth Gathering.  May they share more of their faith with us yet.

In the Power of the Creator,

Pastor Randy

Great News!  Pastor Randy will be leading Sunday Worship Service & Adult Sunday School on November 2nd and the 16th!   He will also be leading the Wednesday Adult Bible Class @ 10 AM for the month of November.  


Wednesday   9:00 - 1:00 p  KOK Preschool/Kindergarten
                    10:00 a Bible Study w/Pastor Brian
                     Scrip Order Sunday

 Thursday     9:00 - 1:00 P KOK Preschool/Kindergarten
                    12:00 p All Church Luncheon - Halloween celebration  (wear your favorite costume or Halloween shirt)
                     1:00 p Prayer Shawl Ministry

Friday          9:00 - 11:30 a KOK Preschool

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

Social concerns needs your donations to help fill Thanksgiving Baskets, please take a moment to look at the Giving Tree and see where you can help.

Sunday, November 2nd is the last day to order Christmas Greens through KOK

Fellowship committee has extended the Kitchen Shower
The pantries are still in need of paper products and fellowship food items, please continue to bring your donations.

Monday, October 27, 2014

All Church Luncheon

Join Us Thursday, October 30th
12:00 pm

All Church Luncheon ....Halloween Party!

Costumes and Halloween attire encouraged

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Pastor's Wednesday Messages

from Pastor Brian 

Confirmation!  The word still strikes fear into hearts of adults across the Lutheran Church.  They remember themselves as teenagers standing nervously in front of a congregation, trying to recite verbatim parts of Luther's Small Catechism memorized by long, painful effort.  Herr Pastor had already found them worthy to undergo this ordeal.  Success meant life and blessedness.  But failure to recite Luther correctly or a miscue in explaining the appointed Bible verse would surely mean exile into the outer darkness with weeping and gnashing of teeth.  At least if felt that way, back then.

Thanks be to God, the Rite of Confirmation is different now.  This Sunday, October 26, is Reformation Sunday and a good day to confirm six young people who have been nurtured in the Christian faith by Shepherd of the Valley.  Amber, Anita, Colleen, Emily, Marissa, and Taylor have all worked hard to ground themselves in the bedrock teachings of the Lutheran Church.  They have faithfully participated in learning sessions with Pastor Randy, who has helped them to trust God and rely on God's holy love.  I, too, have had the honor of working a little bit with these young women as they prepare to affirm their Baptisms and embrace an adult faith.  Thanks be to God for their perseverance and for the love of this congregation in supporting them through this faith journey.

Each of the Confirmands will present a personal statement of faith as part of the ritual.  They have put a good deal of thought and love into these statements, with Pastor Randy's help.  These presentations are the good fruit of faithful living.  As a preacher, I appreciate how much courage it takes to stand up and tell people what you believe about God — even in front of a friendly crowd like SOV, this is challenging for teen-agers.  Please welcome these young women and their statements of faith as Christ has welcomed you: with your hearts full of love and tongues quick to offer encouragement.  Your ready affirmation of these young adults will serve as strong confirmation that they really are walking the Way of Jesus Christ.

* * * * * * *

From Pastor Randy

"All streams run to the sea, but the sea is not full, to the place where the streams flow, there they continue to flow."   Ecclesiastes 1:7

          Here we have the preacher, the great teacher of wisdom, in awe of the sea never being full in spite of all the streams running into it.  Choice and I were blessed to have been to the coast recently.  It was a trip that was supposed to have taken place last January, but life intervened.  Since the miracle I pray for every night has not arrived to my specifications it behooves me to take in the miraculous that takes place around me all the time and hopefully strengthened by it.  The coast is a great place for such things.

          Thinking of the distinct, sharp caws of the gulls as they wheel around in the wind.  How clumsy their take off can appear as they first run clumsily before lifting easily and wheel in the wind.  Picturing how flummoxed the fellow was on our deck when he realized  that a running start was not possible there.  Watching him try again and again to jump up on the edge of the rail but finding it too slippery to gain footing, but finally figuring it out and taking off into the wind, fascinating and miraculous.  Then there is the sound of the water itself.  Remembering the first time I stood on the beach at night and it reminding me of a thunderstorm from my youthful experience.  There is the sound rolling along but never ending, a favorite poet comparing the sound to a squadron of F16s.  Watching the dry sand blowing over the wet sand, eventually forming small dunes seemingly without end as well, the ever changing beach, the crashing water maybe bringing forth some surprises, always the miracle of continuing creation.  But I think I'll continue my nightly prayer for a miracle.

In the Power of the Creator forgive my selfishness and thanks for the continuing miracles.

Pastor Randy

Lessons for Sunday, October 26, 2014
Jeremiah 31:31-34
Romans 3:19-28
John 8:31-36


Wednesday  9:00 - 1:00 pm KOK Preschool/Kindergarten      
                    9:45 a KOK Chapel
                  10:00 a Bible Study

Thursday   9:00 - 1:00 pm KOK Preschool/Kindergarten
                 12:00 - 5:00 p Tabor Voice Studio

Friday       9:00 - 11:30 a  KOK Preschool
                 1:00 - 9:00 p Palmeter Piano Studio

Saturday  10:00 - 12:00 p SOV Choir Rehearsal

Sunday     Reformation Sunday  

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Pastor's Wednesday Message

from Pastor Brian

Last Saturday the leaders of your favorite church — SOV — held a retreat: "Celebrating Our Gifts."  We met morning and afternoon.  It was time well spent.  We did things church leadership groups need to do once in a while if the congregation is to serve God well.  We heard and pondered God's word.  I felt fortunate to lead a couple study sessions on one of my favorite books of the Bible, Ephesians.  (Warning: don't ask me why I like Ephesians… you're likely to be talking with me all day long!)  We also listened to one of our elders impart wisdom harvested from many seasons of Christian service.  How fortunate we are to have wise elders willing to share!

Then we talked at length about the work of this congregation.  We spoke honestly and listened respectfully to tales of the shared joys and frustrations we experience working together in this beautiful but flawed institution we call the Church of Jesus Christ.  Important truths were told.  Some tears were shed.  Forgiveness was requested and bestowed.  Hope and resolve were kindled.  When leaders embrace these core church practices, then energy, healing, and vision needed for church work flow abundantly from the Holy Spirit.  That was happening for us last Saturday.  God saw all this and said, "behold, it is very good."

Later we reviewed the Report of the Strategic Task Force and grounded ourselves again in the mission and vision of SOV.  We remembered our covenant to "Reach Up, Reach Out, Reach In."  We also talked about governance structure and discussed a forthcoming policy to guide the use of Social Media at SOV.  Last but not least, we pasted twelve big sheets of paper on the wall and sketched out a calendar of church events for 2015.  That will help our ministry teams not to double-book the congregation as we carry out God's work in this community.

I am grateful for the good work our Council and other leaders did at this retreat.  I am proud of them for investing themselves in their leadership tasks with energy and integrity as they respond faithfully to God's call.  I consider myself fortunate to have such fine partners in the gospel.  I hope you do, too.

* * * * * * *

(No message from Pastor Randy this week as he and Choice have finally had the opportunity to get away....at the beach!)

Lessons for Sunday, October 19th
Exodus 33:12-23
1 Thessalonians 1:1-10
Matthew 22:15-22


Wednesday     10:00 a Bible Study w/Pastor Brian
                        6:00 - 7:30 Parent/Child workshop "Controlling the Tantrum"

Thursday        10:00 a LLL
                       7:00 p Council Meeting

Friday             1:00 - 9:00 p Palmeter Piano Studio
                       6:45 - 10:00 p  Confirmation Class for 7 & 8th grade continuing students

Saturday        11:00 - 4:00 p Church reserved for private event

>Sunday is Scrip Order Sunday, last chance to buy a Columbia Sportswear gift card and receive passes to the company store. SOV is now linked to your Fred Meyer rewards card and information will be available to register your card to SOV while still earning YOUR own rewards.

>Mark your calendars for Sunday, November 2nd; Give Thanks/Oktoberfest Dinner @ 5:00 pm
RSVP is required for this event as homemade sausage is being made and to ensure that there is enough we kindly ask that you let us know how many will be attending (either by email or sign up sheet in the fellowship area)

>October 26th Kitchen Shower Sunday
items requested;
liquid coffee creamers
regular ground coffee
home baked goods, packaged goods; cookies, bagels, muffins, coffee cake, crackers
cheeses; cream cheese, sliced, cube, brick
sliced meats
canned or bottled juices.
items can be brought anytime to the church.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Pastor's Wednesday Messages

from Pastor Brian

Lately I've heard Pastor Randy pray for US soldiers deployed in Afghanistan.  I'm grateful for his prayers.  I'm sure you are, too.  You may not know that one of our local ELCA pastors is now serving in Afghanistan as a military chaplain.  Pastor Scott Dunfee, of St. Stephen's in Gladstone, was called up early this year from the reserves to active duty.  He's a Commander in the Chaplain Corps of the U.S. Navy, and oversees all military chaplains in that theater of service.

Pastor Dunfee sends home blog posts occasionally.  Here's the beginning of his most recent: 

Ground Attack  (October 7)
The Base warning sirens went off with their haunting wail.  I waited anxiously for the message that would follow, telling of what the emergency was. And then came the words: "Ground attack! Ground attack! Ground attack!" My words in response are not appropriate to print here—but I trust God will forgive me under the circumstances!  It was after 10pm on the Eve of Afghan Martyrs' Day (Sep 9) — a time to remember all who have given their lives to keep Afghanistan free — and we had been briefed that the likelihood of attacks by insurgents was greater during this time.  …

Pastor Dunfee's story continues — with surprising twists — to this conclusion:

As much as I missed a good night's sleep, I was grateful for "the test" — as well as the way it turned out.  It all added to a divine calm... and holy sense of confidence... in a ministry of presence — the Real Presence of Christ, the Crucified and Risen One!
The Real Presence of Christ grant you calm and confidence.
Pastor Scott Dunfee

If you want to read the rest of Pastor Dunfee's short article, go to this web link —

Shepherd of the Valley is part of a big church that does good things across the world.   Military chaplaincy is but one way we shine the light of Christ where the world is shadowed with evil.  The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America works with Lutherans world-wide to give help and hope to "the least of these," our sisters and brothers living in poverty and oppression.  God has not forgotten them.  Neither have we.  Some of what you give to SOV is in turn given to the ELCA to support these global ministries.  Thank you for your partnership in the good news of Jesus Christ.

* * * * * * *

From Pastor Randy

"One thing I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after, to live in the house of the Lord, all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in his temple."    Psalm 27:4

          In the backyard again and why not? The portrait is continually changing and all I have to do is sit and take it in.

          It seems much quieter and less lively these days.  I know my flighted friends are still around, because the feeders still need to be filled after all and the squirrels have not gotten it all.  The hummingbirds are still about.  They whir close to my head from time to time and continue to astound me when they are suspended in the air and when they stop to sip some of the nectar.  I finally get a chance to see their delicate nature and many hues.

          When the late afternoon sun hits the trees they light up gold, ruby red and more, it is possible to actually hear the leaves as they fall and watch them drift whirling to the ground.  All of this, a chance to "behold the beauty of the Lord."
In praise of the Creator of all things,

Pastor Randy

Lessons for Sunday, October 12th
Exodus 32:1-14
Philippians 4:1-9
Matthew 22:1-14


Wednesday  7:00 a  Coffee Group at Starbucks in Bethany
                      9:00 - 1:00 p KOK Preschool/Kindergarten
                      9:30 a  KOK Chapel w/Pastor Brian
                     10:00 a  Bible Study w/Pastor Brian

Thursday     9:00 - 1:00 p KOK Preschool/Kindergarten
                     7:00 p  LLL
Friday          9:00 - 11:30 a KOK Preschool
                     1:00 - 9:00 p Palmeter Piano Studio

Saturday      9:00 - 4:00 p SOV Council/Committee Retreat

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Pastor's Wednesday Messages

from Pastor Brian

Jill and I have a little garden.  It's almost done — tomatoes, blackberries, peppers, zucchini, and most of the flowers now bow their heads, fold their leaves, and prepare to meet their maker.  We enjoy the produce while it lasts!  Now is the season we think of bounty in field and garden, and harvest already in or almost ready.  But what of the produce and harvest of our own lives?

Our tomatoes were outrageously abundant this year.  Last spring we laid the groundwork for a good harvest.  We built frames of 2 x 12 fir planks to hold good soil.  We used an organic gardening mix from a local landscaper supplemented by home-made compost.  Or I should say, worm-made compost!  We planted, watered, pruned, guided vines, added support as biomass flourished — and prayed for lots of sun to give growth and ripen fruit.

How to lay the groundwork for a good harvest of our own lives?  Church equips us to build a framework, spread good soil, plant seeds or little starts, add water, prune, and support.  Here's how we do that: we help each other learn to pray, to worship, to serve, to forgive, to bless.  God gives the growth; good harvest comes naturally when conditions are right.

Prayer is especially important.  It's a composting technique.  We put the scraps of our lives, our hearts, into God's prayer composter.  Out of our hopes, dreams, frustrations, and fears, God's Spirit makes good soil for the seed of the Word.  Good soil is alive, a community of creatures, humus, and minerals.  Prayer enriches us, enlivens us, makes us ready to grow a good harvest.  God grant us the grace to compost our lives in prayer, so that when we bow our heads, fold our hands, and get ready to meet our maker, we may do so with joy and thanksgiving.

* * * * * * *

"But as for that in the good soil, these are the ones who, when they hear the word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bear fruit with patient endurance."     Luke 8:15

          I never considered myself to be a patient person, far too impatient in lines and traffic.  I'm feeling a bit different now after living with this stroke and the results for 9 months now (sorry just can't get away from the grip this thing has on my life).  Not having seen much progress lately I am in need of an infusion of patience.  Patient endurance is my desire in prayer.  It is the perseverance that I needed from the beginning that I need to continue with now.

          Now I can see the impatience in others that used to be second nature for me and feel badly for them.  The miracles of nature, that I so often write about do require patience to see and to begin to appreciate.  The birds do not mesmerize me on command, but after hours of watching, in other words, patient endurance.  May I know more of that gift so I can continue to see the miraculous around me and be lifted by it.

In the Peace and Power of the Creator,

Pastor Randy

Lessons for Sunday, October 5th
Exodus 20:1-4, 7-9, 12-20
Philippians 3:4b-14
Matthew 21:33-46


Wednesday  9:00 - 1:00 pm KOK Preschool/Kindergarten
                      10:00 am Bible Study w/Pastor Brian

Thursday     9:00 - 1:00 pm KOK Preschool/Kindergarten
                     12:00 - 5:00 pm Tabor Voice Studio
Friday         9:00 - 11:30 am KOK Preschool
                    1:00 - 9:00 pm Palmeter Piano Studio

Saturday     10:00 - 12:00 pm SOV Choir Rehearsal

Sunday        8:30 & 11:00 a Healing Service
(you are invited to come to the kneelers after you have received  communion, to receive a blessing and prayer for healing.  Please share your prayer needs briefly with the anointing minister and know that they will continue to pray for you in the days to come.  If you have a need for prayer, which exceeds the bound of the time available in the service, please see Pastors Brian or Randy, or speak with)

                    Scrip Order
                    Blood pressure
                    Birthday Sunday
                    Adult Sunday School on October 5, a video on Judaism narrated by the actor Ben Kingsley. It will help us understand the background of Christianity by presenting some Old Testament stories and highlighting key spiritual practices of Judaism.  It's about 45 minutes long so we'll start at 9:55 a.m.

Next Week
KOK Fundraiser Night
Monday, October 6th

Papa's Pizza
dine in or take out
**must present flyer (available at church or online  http://www.sovlutheran.com/files/kok/papas2014.pdf

Men's Night has moved to a new night
Tuesday, October 7th, 6:30 pm
Lil' Cooperstown

Ladies Dinner
Tuesday, October 7th, 6:00 pm
10350 SW Greenburg Rd Tigard, OR

Council Retreat October 11
9:00 - 4:00 pm
@ The Reserve