Reaching Heights July 2020
Reaching Heights July 2020
Links to this month’s news:
OTHER NEWS, EVENTS, and REPORTS
Renewal Works Projects – Prayer Walk, Prayer Groups, Signs of Hope
Mission Ministry Report
Shaker Food Drive – Continues
Prayer List Requests
July 5 – “The Realm of God is Like…” an introduction to this month’s theme. Scripture: Matthew 11:16-19, 25-30
July 12 – “Sown Seeds” – Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23
July 19 – The Parable of the Weeds – Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43
July 26 – “A Mustard Seed, Yeast, and a Net” – Matthew 13:31-33, 44-5
Adult Study – Thursday’s at Noon
Bible Study on the Gospel according to Matthew
7 Thursdays (June 18- July 30) at Noon – 1:00 pm on Zoom*
*a Zoom link will be emailed out; contact Kate Gillooly if you need it sent.
Join us for reflection and discussion on this Gospel which portrays Jesus as teacher, healer, and Messiah. We’ll cover several chapters each week and focus on themes of wisdom, miracles, parables, and passion. Matthew deepens our understanding of what it means to be a disciple as he describes Jesus’ ministry in a context of Jewish tradition in an increasingly pluralistic world. Facilitated by Kate Gillooly
7/2 Chapters 9-13
7/9 Chapters 14-16
7/16 Chapters 16-20
7/23 Chapters 21-25
7/30 Chapters 26-28
Along the Path
This week I received my weekly email from The Salt Project. It always includes commentary on the weeks lectionary texts (which I often find very helpful) and usually adds a poem, sometimes with a reflection on the poem. This week’s poem was “A Summer Day” by Mary Oliver and I thought that the reflection was so good that I wanted to share it with you. So instead of writing an Along the Path this month, here is Mary Oliver and The Salt Project.
A Summer Day
Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean –
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down –
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?
+ Mary Oliver
The most famous lines of this poem are the last two: they’re taped to mirrors and pinned to cork boards and framed in embroidery and on and on – and sure enough, they’re lines worth remembering. But the heart of the poem is a couple of lines earlier: “Tell me, what else should I have done?” What else, that is, besides “falling down in the grass, being idle and blessed, strolling through the fields all day.” At its heart, this poem is a little revolution, a provocative question mark beside the conventional answers to the query, What makes for a day well lived? How should I spend this “summer day”? This summer day, I mean – the one we’re in right now. The one we’ll live in tomorrow.
Oliver’s potentially life-changing proposition is that we very well may need to rethink what a “productive day” looks like. It may look a lot less like a day tied to screens and email and housework and errands and getting things done, and a lot more like the simple, astonishing affair of getting to know a grasshopper. This grasshopper, I mean. And if we remember that not everyone today has the opportunity to take a day in the fields to be “idle and blessed,” then this poem may redouble our efforts to build a world in which everyone – everyone! – has the occasional time and space to stroll through the fields, “wild and precious,” holding out a little sugar in our hand.
+The Salt Project
Where two or three are gathered
I have been thinking about how we gather in this time of pandemic. It has not been safe to gather in large groups, especially all in one room. So many activities have been moved online – to Zoom, or a series of emails, or to telephone calls. We worship on Zoom, hold meetings on Zoom, study scripture on Zoom, pray on Zoom. Of course we would rather be doing these in person, in our church building, as we used to. But there is beauty in the technology that allows us to continue this work even from our separate homes. And while it is not the same, it is still gathering.
In the past few weeks, we have begun “Hearts Together in Prayer.” These brief meetings on Zoom are a chance to pray together, for those who desire it. We spend a few minutes checking in, sharing prayer concerns or updates, then we center ourselves and pray for loved ones, our community, the world, and our blessings. It is a time of connection – with each other and with God. It is a time for doing what we know we should, and it seems easier to do with others than alone. It is a way to be gathered in the Spirit, even as we continue to shelter in place. We are one in the Spirit. Join us.
The RenewalWorks team has been busy planning spiritual enrichment opportunities during this pandemic. Many thanks to Lynda Ackerman, Val McMillan, Rosalind Powell, and Jane Troha, for the energy and devotion they have invested in these projects. Our church and community benefits from new opportunities to gather, pray, meditate and hope together!
We are thrilled to announce the outdoor Prayer Walk is up and ready for use! It has 5 stations around the church grounds (including the Labyrinth, Peace Garden, Front, Porch, and Little Free Pantry) for people to do on their own time. Instructions and sample prayers are posted and the community is invited. Stop by anytime to meditate and pray.
“Hearts Together in Prayer” is also up and running now. This is an online prayer opportunity for folks to gather (on Zoom) to share prayer concerns, pray for others, and learn new ways to pray together. The Wednesday night group will meet weekly at 7:30 pm. Our goal is to make two offerings — one in the evening and one during the day. The daytime group will meet July 8 at 10:00 am, and decide whether to meet weekly after that. If you would like to join either time, please let Val McMillan know. We look forward to the opportunity to pray together!
Signs of Hope -Micah 6:8 – “Do Justice, Love Mercy, Walk Humbly with God.” These signs are now planted on the church lawn and available for members to have in their own yards. We suggest a contribution (via check mailed to church or paid online on our website) to cover the costs ($10 each). You can come get yours from the church most mornings (Mon-Wed. and Fri.) We look forward to seeing them all over Shaker, and beyond!
Our Chalk the Walks on 6/20 was a big hit! Many thanks to Connee Choi and Carolyn Troha for organizing a fun afternoon for our families. We drew pictures and wrote messages of hope all around the front of the church.
***Reminder: Our HCC Children’s StoryTime continues on Tuesdays at 4 pm! Contact Kate Gillooly for the Zoom link. Children of all ages welcome!
Report from the Mission Ministry Team
Donations Needed for Family Promise
During these troubling times, helping hands are needed for many including our homeless population. Family Promise houses approximately fourteen homeless families with children ages infants to five years old. The families live in apartment-like settings where each family is responsible for their own housekeeping duties.. Several congregations are providing them with supplemental food items. Other items needed are below.
We, at Heights Christian, are doing a donation drive started Wednesday, June 17th to August 17th. You may drop your donation off at the church everyday except Tuesdays from 9am-noon. A container will be provided in the hallway at the Daleford door. Thanks to Kese for being available to help with this effort.
dish soap, dish towels/cloths, kitchen trash bags
sponges, cooking utensils, aluminum foil
sandwich bags, can opener, twin sheets and pillows
During the pandemic shutdown we have not been able to provide gift card services. An increasing number of you have requested to purchase cards.
We have stalled trying to find a socially responsible way to distribute cards.
So here is the process we are going to try:
- Email Kese your card request including card(s), denomination(s), quantity.
- Kese will fill your order and let me know it is ready and the dollar total.
- I’ll provide a time slot or range for you to visit me at my home.
- You will provide a check (payable to HCC) and I will give you an envelope.
- We may socially distance visit outside as either of our time/weather allows.
- If you are not able to travel, I will arrange to socially distance deliver cards as possible.
Please use firstname.lastname@example.org for you order.
Shaker Food Drive
The Unity in the Community campaign plans to continue the food distributions through the summer. In July these will be on July 6 & 13. These distributions take place from the circular drive off Winslow Road at the back of our building from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm. We are also making deliveries to families without transportation. The number of folks who have been receiving food continues to grow.
While there are no food collections planned at the present time, monetary gifts are always welcome and encouraged. Those gifts can be made online on our website (you can specify the food drive): https://www.heightschristianchurch.org/donate/
And volunteers are always needed. Volunteer should sign up online: https://www.signupgenius.com/go/508084ba4a62ba6fc1-unity
Prayer List Requests
Our current prayer list is in limbo since we are not printing a bulletin and do not want to put prayer lists online. If you have a prayer request, you can use the online prayer request form (https://www.heightschristianchurch.org/prayer-request/) or send an email to Pastor Roger. These requests will be forwarded on to the Elders and our Prayer Ministry Team.
Social Media outreach
HCC is on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and You-Tube! If you see something you like, share it on your page! This will increase our reach and may draw in our next visitor!