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Archive for September 2013

IT’S BETTER TO GIVE THAN TO RECEIVE…

When I was a little girl, I heard the expression:  “It is better to give than to receive.”  Hmm, I thought.  Not really.  

As I got older, I discovered that the old saying was, of course, true.  Not because it is “nicer” to give than to receive, or because we are “supposed” to give rather than get.  It is better because giving  — of money, of talent, of self – is what we were created to do.  It is deeply satisfying to find the perfect gift for someone you love.  It is incredibly fun to watch a preschooler tear into a wrapped package, paper flying everywhere, bows sticking wildly to various body parts.  Most of us remember the best present of our lives – and much of the time, that best present is one we gave to someone else, with love. 

So, on October 6th, we are having a Giving Party.  We are gathering in the Fosgett’s backyard,  in the beauty of the autumn afternoon, to decide how and where to share the gifts from our Faith, In Redwood City ministry.  We have several thousand dollars to share for this first half of the year, and each of us will have an opportunity to prayerfully, and playfully,  discern where that money goes.  We are in the blessed position of having gifts to offer our larger community that can make a real difference to many people.  And so we gather, and we celebrate – and we give from our hearts.

Come and have fun, doing what we are called to do, and what we are privileged to be able to do.  Come to the Giving Party.  And be open to receiving the best gift of all – the gift of giving.

In God’s love,

Kim

“No one is useless in this world who
lightens the burdens of another.” 
    ― Charles Dickens
 
 
 
“It’s not how much we give but how much love we put into giving.” 
 
― Mother Teresa
 
“We make a living
by what we get.
We make a life by what we give.” 
 
― Winston Churchill
 
 
 
“You give but little
when you give of your possessions.
It is when you give of yourself
that you truly give.” 
― Kahlil Gibran
 
 

Click HERE for Today’s Newsletter

With Whom Will You Make Peace?

This Saturday, September 21, people from around the world, from various religious traditions and nationalities, will join in a common purpose: peace.  In 1981, the United Nations passed a resolution creating an International Day of Peace, and invited people everywhere to put aside their hostilities and work, at least for one day, toward peace.  According to Peace Day 2013, “ September 21 is held as a day on which armed conflict is meant to be stilled, a day for combatants to observe ceasefires, a day on which all people are invited to commit or reaffirm their commitment to non-violence and the peaceful resolution of disputes.”   In 2004,the World Council of Churches recognized that same date as an International Day of Prayer. And thus, two worldwide organizations, one representing governments and one speaking for faith communities, found a way to work together to promote world peace. 

The theme this year for Peace Day 2013 is “With whom will you make peace?”  On Saturday, we are invited to take some time to ask ourselves that question—and then take concrete steps to reach out in reconciliation.   

Perhaps there is someone in your life, at home or at work, from whom you are estranged, a neighbor or co-worker or family member with whom you have had conflict.  On Saturday, find a way to reach out to make it better.  It doesn’t need to be a grand gesture, because even small movements can heal.

 Will you set aside some time this weekend to pray for your community, your country, and a world that is torn by violence?  Will you pray for saner gun laws and safer homes?  You won’t be alone – millions of people will be joining their prayers with yours.  

With whom will you make peace? 

    Kim

 

Click here for today’s Newsletter

SYRIAN REFUGEES

Our call and privilege as Christians is to pray for people in need, and to respond to their needs in the best way we can.  In the most recent past, the people of Syria have  been lifted up in prayer at every FCC gathering:  the children, the refugees, the families living in fear.  We pray for these Syrian sisters and brothers, but we often struggle with concrete ways we can share our support with them.

Recently I received a letter from Susan M. Sanders, UCC Minister for Global Sharing of Resources, and Peter E. Makari, Executive of the Middle East and Europe Global Ministries of the UCC and Christian Church.  They shared a way to send secure, targeted donations to aid groups who are providing humanitarian aid in Damascus, Homs, Aleppo, and throughout Syria, as well as UCC partners reaching out to Syrian refugees in neighboring countries.  These gifts help provide food, water, shelter, medicines and emotional support to vulnerable children, women and elderly persons.

One refugee helped by these organizations is a 6 year old girl named Raghdad.  She fled Aleppo with her family in 2012, and as a refugee, found herself increasingly isolated and withdrawn.  One of the programs offered allowed her to attend summer school with other children in Damascus, where she was immersed in art, music, sports, and all the educational opportunities she had been forced to leave behind.  Surrounded by other children and caring adults, she blossomed, making friends, establishing routines and even looking ahead to the future.  She told her teachers recently she would like to become a doctor.

Much of the tragedy of Syria is hard to imagine.  It feels so far away.  Perhaps thinking about Raghdad will help us focus on what matters the most:  protecting and providing for children, and trying our best to make sure they know that the people of the world care about them — and their futures.

To make a secure donation online, go to:

www.ucc.org/disaster/syria

OR, checks can be made payable to FCC marked ‘Syria Relief’ and we will forward them for you

OR, make your check payable to  United Church of Christ, with the memo marked for Syria Relief, and send it to: 

Financial Services

700 Prospect Avenue

Cleveland, OH 44115

 

You can call for more information at 216-736-3215. 

Give generously.  And keep praying.

Kim

GOD IS STILL SPEAKING – BUT ARE WE LISTENING?

This great question was raised by Ruth Stroshane during one of our regular Wednesday morning prayer groups recently.  For those of you who haven’t ever been with this group, there is a lot of sharing that goes on there.  We share our joys and concerns, and then we lift them up in prayer.  We always have a time of extended silence as well, as we let the prayers ruminate in our hearts.  I suppose this is one form of listening, for memories and insights often come to us during this time.

This Fall we will begin each Wednesday group by sharing one of the readings from the book:  “The Best of the Stillspeaking Daily Devotionals” by the UCC Writer’s Group.  On the next page you will find a piece by Kenneth L. Samuel, who speaks to the theme of listening to God.  If you find your heart in need of a time of shared prayer in order to help you listen more deeply, come join us on Wednesdays at 11:00 am or Sundays at 4:00pm. 

You are always welcome!  Kim

“CAN YOU HEAR ME NOW?”

 Excerpt from Hebrews 1:1-4

 God, who at sundry times and in diverse manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds. (KJV)

 Reflection by

 Kenneth L. Samuel

 How many times have we abandoned all efforts to communicate with persons who were non-responsive?  After a few unanswered messages or e-mails we’ve had it!  After all, who would even want to communicate with someone who obviously doesn’t want to talk and couldn’t care less about building any kind of mutual relationship?  What kind of person would keep reaching out and trying to establish dialogue with people who are obviously not interested?  That kind of person would be God.  Our whole history is a chronicle of God’s patient and persistent attempts to open up a divine-human dialogue with those of us who isolate and insulate ourselves by talking only among ourselves.  The advent of every prophet was an invitation for us to dialogue with God; the rejection of every prophet was a refusal of that invitation.  And just when we thought God might have abandoned the effort, God, instead, turned up the volume, wrapped the message up in human flesh and spoke to us in the living language of sacrificial love personified in Jesus.  Can we hear God now?

Prayer

Lord, after all of our dismissals and rejections of your call, thank you for never giving up on us.  You have spoken clearly to us through your Son and we hear you now.  Amen.

Click here for the September 11th Newsletter

 

Click here for Today’s Newsletter and to find out more about these Dancing Chairs…