a newsletter from

Phoenix Community Church UCC


Friday, November 17, 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


Called To Serve: This is a short reflection inspired by the sermon on Sunday, November 5, 2017. The full recording of the sermon can be found at http://phoenixchurch.org/sermons.php.


Jesus calls his followers to be servant leaders: to lead others by serving them, by doing for them, by acting out of concern for their well-being. This leadership model reminds me of Martin Luther King, Jr’s statement that no one is free until we are all free. By calling us as servant leaders, Jesus asks us to work on our own freedom by freeing others from whatever injustice holds them down: racism, sexism, homophobia, ageism, violence, poverty, and on and on. Until we can free our neighbors from these evils, we cannot ourselves be free of them.


This is the vision of a world free of injustice, filled with love, peace, and hope. It’s what we mean when we talk of the kin-dom of God. But is such a world really possible? I trust in God that it is. If we can envision it we can build it. When we begin to live by the principles of the kin-dom (love, justice, and peace) then the kin-dom begins to exist within each of us. Born within our hearts, the kin-dom begins to grow in the world.


We answer this call to be servant leaders by humbling ourselves in the service of others and not worrying about what we get out of it but serving out of compassion and concern. This type of leadership by example is sorely needed in our “me-first” culture. Jesus’ call to servant leadership stresses the equality of all, that we’re all equally important in God’s sight. It also acknowledges that our true leader as Christians is Christ, God’s word of love to the world. Above all else, we are led by Love.


There are also temptations and dangers when we start to think of ourselves as leaders. We can fall prey to hypocrisy, not practicing what we preach. We can get attached to the power and the praise, becoming all show and no substance. We can also give in to greed, serving only those who can give us something back. A strong relationship with the Holy Spirit can give us the strength and courage we need to help us avoid these kinds of temptations as we answer Christ’s call to work for a justice filled kin-dom.


As followers of Christ we are called to be servant leaders, to serve where, as Frederick Beuchner says, “the place of our deep gladness meets the world’s deep need.” By beginning to build the kin-dom within ourselves by opening our hearts to the strength of the Spirit and by offering ourselves as God’s servants in the world, we can make God’s kin-dom a reality. We are called to serve. How will we respond?



Steering Committee meets at 7 pm tonight, Friday, November 17, in the church office. Everyone is welcome.


A Potluck Dinner and Congregational Meeting will be held after worship on Sunday, November 19. Please join us for important discussions about mission, finances, and the future of Phoenix Community Church.


We’ll be having two guest speakers in worship in the next few weeks. Long-time friend of Phoenix, the Rev. Whitney Brown will preach on November 26 while Pastor Ken is on vacation. On December 3, the Rev. Justo Gonzalez, our Michigan Conference Area Minister, will join us with a special word to begin the season of Lent.

The Book Study Group is currently meeting at 3:30 pm on Thursdays in the church office. If you’ve ever had questions about what prayer is and why you should do it, plan to join us for our next book, “In God’s Presence” by Marjorie Suchocki, which considers prayer from a process theology perspective. We expect to start this new book on December 7, 2017. Everyone is welcome to join in for what is always great conversation and learning. You don’t need a copy of the book to participate.


Our next Movie Night is Tuesday, December 12, at 6:45 pm in the church office. The movie title is to be announced. Feel free to bring snacks to share.


Christmas Worship Services will be a bit different this year. Since Christmas Eve falls on a Sunday we will not hold our usual 6 pm worship service on December 24 but will meet instead at 11 pm for our traditional Christmas Eve Service.


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


Remember Loaves & Fishes by bringing non-perishable food goods (no glass) to worship. Put them in the "Loaves & Fishes" bin and they will be delivered to the food bank. Although we accept donations at any time, the first Sunday of the month is perhaps a particularly fitting time to remember the hungry as that is the Sunday we observe communion, nourishing ourselves spiritually. As we remember Christ through the act of eating, let us also remember those in whom Christ resides that struggle to put food on their table.


Sunday Worship Schedule (tentative)


Worship begins at 6:00 pm on Sundays. Communion is observed on the first Sunday of the month.

Nov 19:  “Doubling Down”

Nov 26:  Rev. Whitney Brown

Dec 3:  Rev. Justo Gonzalez

Dec 10:  “Prepare the Way”

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



Upcoming Events


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













17 (Flamings)


7 pm Steering Committee





6 pm Worship


7:15 pm Potluck & Congregational Meeting






4 pm Prayer Group



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6 pm Worship





4 pm Prayer Group



3:30 pm Book Study


Dec 1 (Flamings)




6 pm Worship





4 pm Prayer Group



3:30 pm Book Study






6 pm Worship




6:45 pm Movie Night



4 pm Prayer Group



3:30 pm Book Study

15 (Flamings)


7 pm Steering Committee