On the first Sunday in November, it has become our custom to light candles. We do so in memory of those who have touched our lives and have died. They are family or congregational members we’ve lost. They are strangers who have suffered innocently. They are long-gone loved ones.
To remember is to bring to mind again, making present what seems to be distant or past.
We light a candle and speak a name, and there is a re-membering — a restoring of the presence and touch of someone who has gone. The company grows. We celebrate and find strength in the cloud of witnesses.
God, in the Hebrew scriptures, often “remembers” people. That remembering typically sparks an action on their behalf. Not just a matter of sentimental recollection, it is rather a renewed commitment to the person.
As we remember those who have been part of our lives, we recognize their impact in and among us. And we renew our commitment to passing on the gifts they shared!
As Annual Conference began last week in Greensboro, NC, the focus was on the compelling vision process in which the church as a whole is engaged. Over the past year, many Districts held sessions to begin to ask and answer questions that will help us discern how God may be calling the church in the years ahead.
One of the ways information was captured and presented is in a word cloud– a visual representation of the frequency with which some ideas were named in the conversations. Below are the 100 words most often articulated. They may express some of our priorities as a denomination.
Annual Conference delegates continued the conversations in Greensboro. In the months ahead we’ll have further information about what emerged there.
It began as a wish from a 95-year old remembering long-ago family visits to the Greenbrier Resort in West Virginia for high tea. “We should take a field trip there, just for fun,” Maxie suggested. As an alternative, on June 15, with the Fellowship Hall transformed into a tea room, a group gathered for our own version of high tea.
As part of the time, Maxie and Jean, another of our 90+- year-old members, were honored. Each a remarkable example of living richly and fully into later years, the two continue to inspire many!
There was a great assortment of tea services , a profusion of sandwiches, cakes, scones, cookies, and fruit, and even a few fancy hats!
Women, men, and kids joined in the fun as we recalled a tradition, laughed around the tables, and indulged in enough food to become supper (though a rich one) for most of us.
All agreed that we ate as well or better — and certainly more abundantly– than we could have anywhere else!
Find creative gifts from craftspeople, non-profits and artists working for justice, peace, and the good of the earth
Every purchase serves not only as a present for a friend or loved one, but also supports a worthy cause
Find out more about groups working to meet the needs of the earth and its people
SERRV – marketing global handcrafts
HEIFER INTERNATIONAL – passing on the gift of food
OCEAN CONSERVANCY –protecting & advocating for the ocean & its wildlife
BEAD FOR LIFE – helping women artisans break out of poverty
AMERICAN BIRD CONSERVANCY – saving native birds and their habitats
Stop by & enjoy grilled brats and burgers, baked goods, and children’s activities
Next week we will again erect the Memorial to the Lost in the church yard. Some describe it as a t-shirt graveyard, and it feels that way. Each shirt marks one of the 205 lives lost in our region during 2016 to gun violence. They were young and old — from Maryland and DC and northern Virginia- every loss a sudden end to life given by God.
The plague is violence in our culture.And the plague is the use of guns to kill other human beings.
This is the third year we have partnered with Hyattsville Mennonite Church to host the Heeding God’s Call Memorial. Days after we put it up in 2015, Dylann Roof shot and killed nine people at a Bible study in Charleston. Shortly after we erected the Memorial in 2016, Omar Mateen shot and killed 49 people at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando.
And this week in 2017, we grieve yet another mass shooting, as the entire country laments the senseless deaths in Las Vegas.
So we will erect the Memorial and will remember and pray and pledge ourselves to making change…again.
Because we believe that there is another way of living.
Because we think that there are connections to be made between reliance on guns in private and in national and international arenas.
Because we have known a reality in Christ that reminds us of the value of every person.
Because there are sensible gun regulations for which we must advocate that will protect life .
Because symbolic action leads us toward hope!
In adult education, for the next four weeks (Feb. 5-26, 2017) we will be looking at “Archaeology and the Bible”.
This Sunday Hooker Monroe will introduce the series with specific focus on major issues in “Archaeology and the Bible”and will share from his experience at an archaeological site in the Negev dating from 2000 BCE.
The major issue which is still live in the profession is that of the historicity of the Bible – that is, how accurate is the Bible as an historical account of biblical times from the early iron age (around 1100 BCE) and the times of Jesus; and how should the Bible be used. if at all, in guiding objective research into this question The archaeology of the Bible for biblical fundamentalists is all about proving the Bible inerrant. On the other end of the scale “minimalists” believe that it should be assumed that the Bible, as a historical narrative,is a collection of legends and myths the very consideration of which has the potential to distort archaeological research and interpretation. The minimalists eschew even the name of the Bible in describing their field. They will call it “the archaeology of the Southern Levant” or “Syro-Palestinian archaeology.” There is on this scale a range of “centrists” who believe that there is likely a lot of real history in the Bible and think that the text need not be so sharply divided from the archaeology in exploring that history.
For two of our February sessions Dr Robert Miller of Catholic University will present on ” The archaeology of every day life” and ” The archaeology of religion” in early iron age in Syria/Palestine/Israel. Dr. Miller has done extensive work in this area and is well familiar with the whole range of perspectives on archaeology and the Bible. (as an aside, Dr. Miller grew up in a heavily Mennonite part of Ohio where he was the only non-Mennonite named Miller)
Adult Sunday School Schedule
February 5 – Hooker Monroe
February 12 – Bob Miller
February 19 – Hooker Monroe
February 26 – Bob Miller
All are welcome! Join us as Sunday school begins promptly at 9:30 in the front of the social hall. Coffee and tea will be there as always.