Reaching Heights September 2021
Reaching Heights September 2021
Links to this month’s news:
WORSHIP AND STUDY
Worship – for September
Introduction to Plymouth Church
Blessing of the Backpacks – August 29 after worship
Adult Studies: New opportunities for study beginning this month!
Bread for the Journey – Sunday mornings
MidWeek Bible Study – Tuesdays at 1:00
Children in Worship – an update
See the Serving Schedule
September Worship – at Van Aken and Plymouth
September 5 – at 10:30 – “Praise the Lord, O my soul” Psalm 146 – Pastor Roger preaching – This will be the last service in the Van Aken Blvd. We will close the service by carrying out some of the items that represent our life together as a congregation. A fellowship time outside will follow worship.
September 11 (Saturday) – at 10:00 am – On the 20th anniversary of 9/11 Plymouth Church (2860 Coventry Rd – parking lot entrances via Chadbourne) is planning a memorial service outside. Pastor Roger will be participating.
September 12 – at 11:00 – “Delivered” – Psalm 71:1-6 & Matthew 6:9-13 – Pastor Roger preaching – Our first service in the Herr Chapel at Plymouth. We will open the service by bringing into this new worship space those same items that represent who we are. We hope that everyone will come out to see the new space and join in this celebration of the future of HCC. Following worship there will be a joint fellowship event with Plymouth church outside and under cover.
September 19 – “From Grief to Joy” – John 16:16-22 – Pastor Roger preaching
September 26 – “Repentance and Reconciliation” – Psalm 32 & Matthew 5:21-26 – Pastor Roger preaching
Introduction to Plymouth Church
We’ve created a two page document with all the information you need to find your way to HCC as we make our move to Plymouth Church (UCC) this month. Click here to open and download the document (and here’s a “smaller” version if the other one takes too long to download). If you’d like a printed copy mailed to you, reach out to the church office and Kese can mail you one.
Bring your backpacks, briefcases, laptop bags, canvass totes and any other school + work bags…
to worship on Sunday, August 29 at 10:30 am for a Back to School blessing! We welcome anyone and everyone who is in some way returning to school or work and wants a blessing for the coming year. We will also collect school supplies to donate to folks who need them – so please bring items with you to church that day. In celebration of the new year, we will enjoy special refreshments after worship. Mark your calendars and plan to join in the excitement.
First Hour Adult Study Begins Sept. 19 with “Bread for the Journey”
9:30 – 10:30 am in person and on Zoom
(look for the Zoom link in the weekly update)
As we settle in to our new location, we will continue the Transforming Congregations Bible Study materials. Unit 2 focuses on Traveling with the Psalmists and Prophets and will last for 7 weeks. Materials are available on our website here: https://www.heightschristianchurch.org/adult-study-fall-2021/
We invite you to read over the scripture and reflection before our Sunday morning gathering.
The middle time of transformation is can be a difficult time. After the initial excitement is gone, the mid-journey gives way to learning to live in new ways. This takes courage, commitment, and consistency as people learn to rely on God in deeper ways, take risks, sometimes have to back up and go in another direction. There are many gifts waiting in the middle of the journey, but we have to discover them. A key element is a deepening of relationship with God and fellow travelers. However, this doesn’t just happen. It has to be nurtured and encouraged. The scriptures in these seven sessions come from the Psalms and the prophets. They are resources to help us on our journey, reminding us God provides sustenance for our journey. Like the Israelites gathering manna, we will have to be willing to pick up the food of God’s abundance.
#1 Sept. 19 God’s Steadfast Love (Psalm 33)
#2 Sept. 26 Learning to Sing (Psalms 137+138)
#3 Oct. 3 Have You Not Heard? (Isaiah 40:21-31)
#4 Oct. 10 You Are to Be (Isaiah 42:1-12)
#5 Oct. 17 What Hope? (Ezekiel 37:1-14)
#6 Oct. 24 I’ll Do It, But I Won’t Like It (Jonah 3-4)
#7 Oct. 31 What Does God Want? (Micah 6:6-8; Habakkuk 3:17-19)
MidWeek Bible Study returns!
Tuesday afternoons 1:00 pm beginning Sept. 14
(We’ll begin with Zoom & may evolve into hybrid)
Facilitated by Dr. Kate Gillooly
Join us for an exploration of GALATIANS! In a letter that is called by many “the Magna Carta of Christian liberty,” Paul writes urgently to a church in crisis. The church in Galatia was beset on two sides: from Judaizers claiming that Gentiles must become Jews before becoming Christians, and from Gnostic teachers who abused Christian freedoms. With an impassioned eloquence, the Apostle Paul puts forth his doctrine of justification by grace alone. Lest anyone mistake this liberty as permission to ignore the moral code, Paul reasserts what he perceives as the true function of the Mosaic Law in relation to God’s grace manifested in Christ. Scholars agree—declaration of these principles made Christianity a world religion instead of a Jewish sect. 7 Sessions
Sept. 14 What Were You Thinking!
Sept. 21 The Heart of the Gospel
Sept. 28 In Favor of Grace
Oct. 5 What is the Law for?
Oct. 12 An Appeal to Friendship
Oct. 19 Living the Faith in the Faith Community
Oct. 26 Living the Gospel
Children in Worship
We continue to welcome children of all ages into full participation in our church life, including weekly worship and fellowship. We have books, art supplies and items to help little ones worship and respond to scripture and prayers – all available each week. In addition to our Children’s Worship Space with a rug and bins of supplies, we will also have a book rack, and our Activity Bags available in different locations of the Chapel. Our weekly Intergenerational Moment may be a picture book, Worship and Wonder story, skit, interactive prayer, or other brief teaching on the theme of the day. We are grateful for all who light the peace candle at the beginning of worship, and for all the ways children enrich our life together.
Along the Path:
A couple of months ago someone posted a picture on Facebook of a fairly tall plant that they had discovered in their yard but could not remember planting. They wondered if anyone could identify the plant so they would know if it was something they should keep. Several folks made guesses as to what the plant was, but the comment I most remember was from someone who said that “if you didn’t plant it, it’s a weed.”
A couple weeks later Debbie and I noticed a tall plant in our garden that neither of us could remember planting either, but we decided to leave it and see what it might do. A few weeks after that we were rewarded with a yellow, daisy like flower that became many flowers and is still blooming. We’ve decided that we must have planted it, because it is certainly not a weed!
It is gratifying to know when a seed you have planted puts forth a beautiful flower, but it is also important to know that sometimes flowers bloom when you have no way of knowing who planted them. We are called to plant the seeds of faith, kindness, good works, equity and justice, and then celebrate all the flowers, regardless of who planted them. See you in church!
In peace and hope! – Pastor Roger
Fall is my favorite season, and a lot of it has to do with the Back to School feeling. I love being in school (both as student and as teacher). I love buying new books and school supplies, poring over the syllabus, being on campus and in the classroom. For me there is an energy that comes with beginning a new year. Anything seems possible – it’s like a blank canvass ready to be creatively colored in.
I will admit that I also get butterflies in my stomach when trying something new. There’s a certain anxiety that comes with meeting new people, learning new routines, and meeting new expectations. I am both excited by the possibility that comes with change, and concerned about managing the results. When we start something new, we don’t know exactly how it will all turn out.
I am excited for our new program year at HCC. I think our new space at Plymouth will work wonderfully. I think we have been able to examine many practices and assumptions (to say nothing of stuff!) to see whether they are a good fit for the next chapter of our story. We have a good plan for retaining what’s most important and making room for the Spirit to guide us into new ministries. But of course, I don’t really know what might happen, or how our new chapter will unfold.
When these butterflies of excitement and anxiety crop up, it’s good to be reminded that my sense of control is an illusion. God is ultimately in control. And we worship a God of love, who wants only the best for us, and who will be with us every step of the way. Thanks be to God for a God like that.
September 3rd will be the last day that the church office will be open at the current building. Sometime between noon on the 3rd and 9 am on the 7th, our phones will be ported over to a new phone system and office files and equipment will be moved to the new office at Plymouth. Phone numbers and email addresses will not change in this transition. Kese will be sharing space in Plymouth’s main office and that can be accessed by entering the building via the “Main entrance” and, using the stairs or the elevator, following the signs to the Plymouth offices.
Visioning Leadership Team submits final report
At its August meeting, the Board of Trustees received a final report from the Visioning Leadership Team regarding the next chapter in our story. The Visioning Leadership Team was formed in April to guide the congregation in imagining what the next chapter of our story could look like. We invited the membership to a Dreaming Session, which included some pre-work reflection. At the May 2 Dreaming Session, we shared results of our pre-work, discussed what we are being called into, brainstormed new possibilities, and articulated descriptive words for our next chapter as a congregation.
The Visioning Leadership Team and others engaged in External Interviews with community friends and leaders. Using all we have learned throughout the process, we wrote 4 scenarios of what church mission might look like in the future. These scenarios were sent out to the congregation and excerpts of them presented in church on July 11. We heard some feedback that day and sent a request for electronic feedback by August 1. The responses we received were overwhelmingly positive.
The Visioning Leadership Team shared recommendations with the Board in 3 categories:
Projects that drew interest –
Reading to children/tutoring
Wall of Love with winter items for children
Ongoing commitment to Racial Justice
Expand Peace Award
Partnerships – continuing and new
Questions + Concerns –
Will we have enough people to do all this? (people)
How do the finances look re: the move and beyond? (money)
What happens when in a pastoral transition? (leadership)
General Recommendations to the Board –
- Invest in developing true hybrid worship that engages and weaves together in-person and online participants into one congregation.
- Adopt an expanded view of partnering. Distinguish between partnering and leading – partner in many things, lead in a few.
- Give attention to advocacy and justice work as well as acts of charity/mercy.
- Create new ways to invite people of all ages and stages into deeper involvement incrementally– find ways that fit people’s lifestyles, values and yearnings now and practice radical welcome at each level of involvement.
- Each Ministry Team consider how some of their offerings could be opened to community – such as 100 Mile Potluck, Bible Study in coffee shop, musical concert, rally for justice, etc. as we recognize that community engagement is everyone’s responsibility.
- Begin strategizing now for future pastoral transitions. Engage the wisdom of our Regional Minister, Rev. Allen Harris.
While we certainly have our work cut out for us, the future looks bright and full of possibility! We continue to ground ourselves in God’s promises as we seek God’s guidance in each step forward. Many thanks to the members of the Visioning Leadership Team, who stepped up to guide this process and helped us dream about our next chapter. Please keep your Board in prayer as they negotiate the move to Plymouth, the sale of the building, and the many details of these new dreams.
HCC Visioning Leadership Team: Lynda Ackerman, Andrena Jones-Sharp, Val McMillan, Jane Troha, Rev. Roger Osgood, Kate Gillooly. (Brian McDonald and Yvonne Smith served until June.)
From the Mission Ministry Team:
The Wall of Love; What is it?
We have experienced fluctuating temperatures throughout this summer. When you read this we could have a temperature in the upper 60’s or it could be near 90. What we all know is that eventually the temperature will dip to a degree which requires hats and gloves. There will be some children in our Shaker community who will not have these items. The Missions Team is partnering with Lomond School to help provide these needed items.
We are requesting donations from the congregation of hats, gloves, scarves, socks, and mittens for elementary school age children. If you can, please place your items in a ziplock bag. The Missions Team will provide bags for donations not in bags. These bags will be placed on the fence or some other conspicuously chosen area at Lomond. This is The Wall of Love. Children or parents can take items of their choice from the wall. The collection will continuous as Shaker Schools need the support.
There will be a labeled container in the Narthex on Sunday, September 5th at Heights Christian Church. The following Sunday, September 12th, when we will be at our nesting church, Plymouth, the container will be near our main entrance.
I look forward to calls on the morning of my birthday from my siblings. There are a few friends at Heights who also call, send a card or an email. Afterwards, others will say they wish they had known about my birthday. A member of the Missions Team shared perhaps we should share birthday dates with the congregation. If you would like for your birthday month and day to be shared with the congregation, email or call Kese with your information. We will start a Monthly Birthday list for the newsletter.
Chalk the Walks – August 22nd
Thanks to all who came out to Chalk the Walks!
On Sunday, August 22 we spent a joyous (and hot) afternoon creating pictures and messages on the sidewalks by the church property. We also enjoyed bubble wands and refreshments. Perhaps the best part was the fellowship! Thanks to Lloyd Ackerman and Carolyn Troha for helping with this event.
You can see all the pictures here: HCC Photo Gallery
Prayer List Requests
Don’t be anxious about anything; rather, bring up all of your requests to God in your prayers and petitions, along with giving thanks. (Philippians 4:6)
Our Hearts Together in Prayer group meets each Wednesday evening at 7:30 p.m. to share prayer concerns and updates, and to spend time in prayer together via Zoom. (contact Kate or Val for the link if you’d like to join).
We begin and end with a set of prayers that change each month and are read by the facilitator, and the time in the middle offers opportunity for everyone to share their own petitions, intercessions, and thanksgivings.
All are welcome and encouraged to join us as you are able; praying together is powerful and lifts the spirits. Prayer requests can be submitted via the form on the HCC website (https://www.heightschristianchurch.org/prayer-request/) or send an email to Pastor Roger.
These requests will be lifted up on Wednesday evenings and forwarded on to the Elders, and our Prayer Ministry Team.
The HCC office is closed on Mondays and open Tuesday through Friday from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm. Our staff meeting typically takes place on Tuesdays at 11:00 am.
Pastor Roger will typically be in the office on Tuesdays from 9:30 to 3:00. Kate’s office hours will be Tuesdays from 10:00 to 2:00. Please call ahead to set up an appointment, if at all possible, as pastoral needs or other commitments could call either of them away.
Staff Email Updates
As of August 1, 2021
Please update your address books with the following:
Qin Ying Tan: email@example.com **NEW ADDRESS**
Pastor Roger: firstname.lastname@example.org
Kate Gillooly: email@example.com
Kese Webb: firstname.lastname@example.org
General Mailbox: email@example.com
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!