a newsletter from

Phoenix Community Church UCC

 

Friday, April 28, 2017

 

A progressive Christian experience...

Welcoming and affirming the LGBT community...

 

Embodying God's all encompassing love, as exemplified by Jesus,

in the way we interact with each other, our neighbors, and all creation.

 

 

Food For Thought

 

The Story That Must Be Told: This is a short reflection inspired by the sermon on Sunday, April 9, 2017. The full recording of the sermon can be found at http://phoenixchurch.org/sermons.php.

 

When the religious leaders ask Jesus to tell his followers to quiet down (Luke 19:29-44), he responds that “if they were to keep silent, the very stones would cry out!” What is so important that nature itself demands it be said? The disciples are shouting a message of peace. What’s so bad about that? Well, the real problem is that they are referring to Jesus as “king.” Not a good idea in an occupied city overloaded with religious pilgrims and political tension. Jesus and his followers were challenging the injustices of their time by declaring that our loyalty should belong to God’s way of Love (as revealed to us in the life and teachings of Jesus) and not Caesar.

 

This is the story that must be told: God’s way is better than Caesar’s way – love wins over hate; compassion wins over oppression. This is still true today. This is a story we must still tell. We don’t have a Caesar today but patriarchy still looms large and sexism is still the rule in our culture of power and greed. The would-be kings of our modern world must not go unchallenged. When the world tries to force their kings upon us we have a choice to make. Do we go along with their corruption, their lying and false promises, their scapegoating of other religions and immigrants or do we choose love and compassion? Do we choose justice?

 

Today, we are still called to declare that our Caesars are false leaders and that God’s love is our only true guide, our only true hope. This is the story that must be told. The disciples shouted their hosannas and they were cautioned to be silent. Where and why are the oppressed being told to be quiet today – or else? We should always remember the hosannas, the calls to love and action. They, I believe, will keep us from turning to shouts of “crucify him” and call us to justice and compassion in response to the world’s cruelties. With the stories of despair that need to be told, there is one story that must also be told or even the earth will shout it out: the light that Jesus brought into this world cannot be extinguished. God’s love cannot be defeated.

 

Announcements

 

Our Annual Rummage Sale, which is part of the Winchell Neighborhood sale, is tomorrow, Saturday, April 29! Come and support the church with a little shopping! The sale will be open from about 9 am until at least 3 pm or so.

 

Pastor Ken will be on sabbatical from the first of May through July. While the pastor is away, Rev. Deborah Kohler will be preaching and providing leadership for worship as well as emergency pastoral care. Our peer ministers are also available as needed (see below). If you have any questions or concerns please feel free to contact Mark Kole (moderator) or Linda Cross (Vice Moderator). If you need to contact them or anyone else at the church but don’t have their contact info, call the church phone at 269-383-3222 and leave a message.

 

During the sabbatical time, we hope to still send out the Flamings Newsletter (probably in the form you are receiving today) but it is likely to be on a sporadic basis rather than a regular schedule. If anyone would like to help, please contact Angie Willard.

 

Our Book Study Group will be taking a break through May. An announcement will be made later regarding when we’ll start back up (hopefully at the beginning of June) and what we’ll be discussing.

 

Steering Committee will meet at 7 pm on Friday, May 19, in the church office. Everyone is welcome.

 

LGBTQ Community Dinner: In appreciation of our wonderful, vibrant LGBTQ community, Phoenix Community Church would like to offer an opportunity to enjoy fellowship together. Please come and enjoy each other's company, a little entertainment, and a good meal. Kalamazoo poet Denise Miller will be sharing some of her poetry. Don't miss it! Dinner will include a selection of pasta and sauces, salad bar, bread, beverage, and a choice of desserts. Everyone is welcome! Bring your friends! The dinner is free, but donations are gladly accepted. If possible, please RSVP to office@phoenixchurch.org or 269-383-3222.

 

Phoenix Community Church will be 30 years old next February and we need to celebrate! We're looking for folks interested in planning a celebration for our anniversary next February. If you're interested in helping contact our moderator Mark Kole.

 

Peer Ministers for 2017 are Linda Cross, Arlene Scholfield and Aud Wierenga. Please contact a peer minister if you need assistance or just a listening ear.

 

Remember Loaves & Fishes by bringing in canned goods (no glass). Put them in the "Loaves & Fishes" bin and they will be delivered to the food bank.

 

Sunday Worship Schedule (tentative)

 

Communion is observed on the first Sunday of the month.

 

Apr 30: “The Road Ahead” - Rev. Ken Arthur

May 7:  “Feed My Sheep” - Rev. Deborah Kohler

May 14:  Rev. Whitney Brown

May 21: “The Holy Spirit is Coming” - Rev. Deborah Kohler

May 28:  “Dying for Freedom” - Rev. Deborah Kohler

 

Upcoming Events

All events are at 2208 Winchell unless noted otherwise. Also see our online calendar at: http://www.phoenixchurch.org/WebCalendar.

 

Saturday, April 29:  Rummage Sale, 9 am to 3 pm

Sunday, April 30:  Worship, 6 pm

Wednesday, May 3: Prayer Group, 4 pm

Sunday, May 7: Worship, 6 pm

Tuesday, May 9: Movie Night, 6:45 pm

Wednesday, May 10: Prayer Group, 4 pm

Sunday, May 14: Worship, 6 pm

Wednesday, May 17: Prayer Group, 4 pm

Friday, May 19: Steering Committee, 7 pm

Saturday, May 20:  LGBTQ Community Dinner, 5:30 pm

Sunday, May 21: Worship, 6 pm

Wednesday, May 24: Prayer Group, 4 pm

Sunday, May 28: Worship, 6 pm

Wednesday, May 31: Prayer Group, 4 pm

 

Contact Info

 

Phoenix Community Church UCC

2208 Winchell Avenue

Kalamazoo, MI 49008

 

Phone: 269-383-3222

Office Email: office@phoenixchurch.org

Web Site: http://www.phoenixchurch.org

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/PhoenixChurch