Mark Your Calendar for the Valentine Spaghetti Supper

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Saturday, February 11
5-8pm

Come share in the work and the fun of hosting friends and neighbors for a special evening of delicious food, live music by Kindred Spirits, and great fellowship with one another.

Invite your friends and neighbors!

All proceeds from the dinner go to support local needs in our community through the programs of Help by Phone, the PG Plaza Day Center (CUCE), and others.

There’s lot of ways to help! Make sauce, help set-up, serve, clean-up. Call the church office to sign up or learn more.

New Faith Journey Column on UPCOB.org

We’re so excited to welcome Ian Irvin to the University Park Church of the Brethren website contributors. Ian is hoping to share his thoughts around his faith journey with us about once a month. Please feel free to support and engage with him in the comment section below. Here’s a little more about Ian.

Ian IrvinIan is a former Modern Standard Arabic linguist with the U.S. Air Force and youth pastor before returning to finish his education back home in Pennsylvania.  After graduating, Ian married his best friend, Alaina, and the two moved to the District of Columbia, Maryland, Virginia (DMV) where Ian is an attorney with the federal government. Ian enjoys Penn State football, reading in his and Alaina’s library, and pampering their two cats:  Nittany and Pride. Ian hopes to remain sensitive to God’s calling and helping others develop a closer relationship with Christ.

 


 

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Handshake via Creative Commons and Wikimedia

Appointing an Ambassador

Instead of enjoying leftover turkey, stuffing, and mashed potatoes, Alaina, my wife, and I headed down to Georgia to see a good friend get married.  As this was Alaina’s first time to the Peach State, we decided to spend a few extra days visiting friends & family and doing “touristy” things in Atlanta.

During our two days in Atlanta, I developed a minor bellyache as I tried a score of soft drinks from around the globe at the World of Coca-Cola.  At the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library, we read about the life of a former Commander-in-Chief who highly values human rights and justice.  At the College Football Hall of Fame, we read, in part, of the importance of the service academies and historically black colleges to football.  Finally, we toured the CNN Center where we walked the news floor, observed the control rooms, and snuck into a studio during a live broadcast.

As we walked the stairs and halls of CNN, one of the top stories was about who our President-elect will nominate as the next Secretary of State, the foremost ambassador of the United States.  As pundits debated whether it will be Mitt Romney, Rudy Giuliani, David Petraeus, or Bob Corker, I was struck by 2 Corinthians 5:20, where the apostle Paul says, “we are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us.”

Thinking about this verse, several different reflections came to mind.  It was something that I skipped over countless times, but Paul purposefully uses the word “ambassador” and not “diplomat.”  While there is a lot of overlap, there remains a substantive difference between the meaning of the two words.  Whereas a diplomat is a person who represents a government in another country, an ambassador is the foremost person who represents a government in another country.

It is in that subtle difference, the view of my role as God’s ambassador has changed.  Before, I thought of myself merely as one of God’s representatives in this world.  However, that is not the case.  I am God’s foremost representative to the places He has sent me:  my work, my neighborhood, and my friends & family.  Again, to all of these, I am not a representative of God, I am God’s foremost representative.

Finally, realizing I am God’s ambassador to the particular people I come into contact each day, it has me wonder – am I being a good ambassador for God?  Unlike the pundits discussing the loyalty of one potential Secretary of State versus the resume of another possible Secretary of State, have I been a true Christian – someone who is Christ-like – to those around me?  Have I prayed for this country’s leader whom I supported?  Have I prayed for this country’s leader whom I did not support even though God is the one who raised those leaders?  Have I spread a fake news article on Facebook despite being called to both rejoice and dwell on the truth?  In the midst of debating substantive policy considerations, have I descended into demagoguery and ad hominem attacks?  Have I been blinded by the politics of parties in America and forgotten about the Kingdom I am an ambassador for?

Even though we are 7 weeks from a new administration in Washington, the Kingdom of God has come near, and I am its ambassador.

World Communion Sunday – October 2, 2016

Refugee camp in Aleppo. Photo by IHH Humanitarian Relief Foundation

Refugee camp in Aleppo. Photo by IHH Humanitarian Relief Foundation

 

It’s hard for us to imagine what it means to leave your home with only what you can carry or is necessary. It’s hard for us to comprehend not knowing where your next meal will come from for yourself or your family. It’s hard for us to understand bombings and the physical violence of war where we live.

This Sunday’s Love Feast will be part of  our morning worship. With Syria and its suffering so much in the news, we’ll try to make connections as we mark World Communion Sunday.

Join us as we bear witness to people suffering around the world especially remembering those in Syria. We will humbly do a foot washing and offer communion to each other and share food.  Our love feast meal will be a simple Syrian rice dish with sides of yogurt, almonds and dried fruit.

Join us in prayer and love.

University Park Church of the Brethren
4413 Tuckerman St., University Park, Maryland

Morning worship begins at 10:50am

All are welcome!

Faith Imagination: Healing Prayer

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“Faith Imagination is a way of praying in which we specifically invite God to enter into our experience in a way that we can perceive God’s work in us. We do this in the faith that God want to meet us at our growing edge, or where we are most vulnerable, hurting or scared.”  (Consenting to Grace, Tilda Norberg)

Mini – Retreat

Saturday, October 1, 2016
10:00 am to 3:00 pm
Leader – Darlene Meyers, Gestalt Pastoral Care Minister Intern
Complimentary lunch will be provided
Retreat will be held at University Park Church of the Brethren
4413 Tuckerman Street, University Park, Maryland

Please RSVP to
upcob2@verizon.net or call 301-864-4328

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What will happen at the Retreat?

An introduction to faith imagination healing prayer

An exercise in increasing awareness

A guided meditation drawing upon our faith imagination

An exercise in identifying our individual preferred modalities of perception

Discovering our symbols for the Holy One

Time for silence, sharing and writing about your experience

An opportunity to “work” using faith imagination healing prayer

Join us!

ALL CHURCH RETREAT: Feed Body and Soul April 15-17

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ALL CHURCH RETREAT: FEED BODY AND SOUL

April 15-17

Shepherd’s Spring Outdoor Ministry Center
(Sharpsburg, Maryland)

Enjoy time away with friends…

Savor God’s presence…

Stretch and grow…

Revel in the beauty of the outdoors…

Friday evening 8 p.m. –  Sunday 1 p.m.

Beds are available in the lodge or in cabins (call the church office 301-864-4328 for rates)

The church is covering half the cost for every attendee,
and has additional funds available for anyone who might need them.

Explore growing edges around multicultural awareness

We will worship, play games, sing, and walk,

Delight in good food cooked for us

Gather around the campfire, and just have fun!

Mulch Sale: April 2

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We’re selling and delivering shredded hardwood mulch to neighbors and friends again this year. Orders can be made by calling the church office (as long as supplies last) at 301-864-4328 or better yet stopping by the church parking lot early Saturday morning! We’ll be delivering by 8am.

Proceeds from the mulch sales go to various church projects. In recent years, these have included:

*sponsorship of Rwandan university student Venuste Gatabazi

* assistance for children attending camps and conferences