Volume 4, Issue 2
A Message from the Pastor
The earthquake is over but internally
some shaking continues. We are not the same as we were a couple of
weeks ago. The earth beneath our feet shook in a way that shocked, scared,
amazed and terrified us. That experience, if we pay attention, is revelatory.
How did we first react to the shaking? What cover and protection did we seek? To what and whom did our thoughts first turn?
A friend of mine told me her mother fell to her knees, asked for forgiveness and said, "I'm ready Jesus -- take me." An elderly couple, who has spent much time debating whether to sell their house and downsize, experienced a new decisiveness after the earthquake. A man who had been wrestling with a change in jobs suddenly felt a new clarity.
Such a shaking uncovers and reveals some of things that were previously hidden.
Lent is a time to access the courage to allow us to be shaken up, mixed up, and transformed. We strive to be vulnerable enough to stand in shaky places where we can do some soul-searching and question how we live our lives. There is an opportunity to enter into a radical commitment to rethink who we are and what we know.
It's a time author Wendy Wright calls chaotic and creative. "We enter into the rhythm of disequilibrium -- indeed, of dying -- essential to the formation of new life."
This is the challenge to all of us, as individuals and as this church: to acknowledge there is a rhythm, even in our uncertainty, that will guide us to new places of fuller life; to willingly go into a state of imbalance that will eventually create more integrity about who we are as expressions of God.
It's a journey in which we are not alone. We have the Spirit with us. We have each other. Let us go forth. Blessings,
P.S. Thanks to your steady support and pledges, the Board of Trustees
has approved the funds for me to work an additional 6 hours a week. Beginning
April 1, I will be adding 2 hours a week at home covering phone calls,
e-mail, computer work and other church business follow-up. I will be
at the church on Thursday mornings from 8:30am-12:30pm.
Moderator's Notes - March 2001
Wow, may I say it again? Our church is filled with a new spirit of energy and enthusiasm. Visitors both old and new can sense it, and have commented on it. In February, we had one of the most lively Annual meetings I can remember. At that time we agreed on the official name of our dear church, we are the Monroe Congregational Church, UCC. Now to get all the signs and letterheads and various documents to agree! We also tentatively approved a new mission statement, with a slight tweaking of the proposed one submitted by the cabinet. I am very pleased that I will be continuing as Moderator, with Kayleen Bryson in the wings as Moderator elect. We have filled all the spots in our list of officers and committees, and I'm looking forward to a year of exciting times, growth and realization of our potential in many areas.
In February we began Lent, the traditional season of penitence, but one which can be tempered with the sure realization of the basic meaning of Easter, the glory and the eternal assurance of the resurrection. Pastor Diane has some surprises in store for Lent, and we will be blessed with her insightful and uplifting sermons. Our traditional Easter services will again be held, along with the wonderful breakfast the Men's Group hosts. Be sure to invite friends to share these times with us, everyone is invited to the breakfast! What fun it would be to have a big crowd, and lots of newcomers.
April brings not only Easter, but the Conference annual event, Renewal 2001, which will be held in Wenatchee April 27 to 29. It is the year of the Inspirational and Educational Event, so will be full of new ideas and, surprise, inspiration! It would be great to have a big group from our church attending. Diane and I are planning on going, so see one of us if you would like to come along. We have received registration packets, and the early registration is due by April 1. It is a wonderful opportunity to mix with and learn from other church folks, as well as to get to know each other better outside of church.
Peace and joy
I have been asked to tell you a little about myself.
Originally from Nebraska, I attended the University of Nebraska-Kearney State Teachers College from 1972-1973, where I was a music major, quit school, came to Seattle, got married in 1973 and divorced in 1978 (that's another story). Over the years, I have been in the corporate world in many fields. In the mid to late 1980s I was a partner in a music business, (retail and teaching). In January, 2001 I started the process of going back to school, seeking my music degree at the ripe age of 48.
My family has a long musical history (from my Mother's side). My sister, brother and I sang as a trio when I was little in a United Methodist Church (we all sang Soprano). We have now gone into our own professions, although I still sing with my sister now and then. I began my Music Ministry during my Senior year in High School, as a soloist organist. I was hired in 1974 as Organist for the Seattle Congregational Church, NACCC (now Shoreline), became the Music Director in the early 1980's. The last 6 years I was the Diaconate Chair. Adding it all up, I served in the church for 26 years and will always remain close friends with them.
Over the years, I have been a member of the Seattle Symphony Chorale, Seattle Choral Company, Seattle Bach Choir, Seattle Mens Chorus, former Director & Accompanist of the Lake Washington Singers (Women's Chorus), and former Director of the Sno-King Chapter of SPEBSQSA (Mens Barbershop Chorus).
On a personal note: I feel God is leading me into some new spiritual and musical career challenges. I believe I have been called" in a new and positive direction; to your church and family". After several conversations with Pastor Diane (and some with my former church pastor), I know this is where God wants me to be, and I look forward to our ministry together.
Yours in Christ,
The Choir Loft
Greetings to everyone! As your new
Church Music Leader, let me first say how excited I am to be with all of
you, and to be a new member of this energetic and enthusiastic 'Family'.
I appreciate all the warm welcomes I have received since I arrived. It's
also great to work with supportive people who have a vision for the future.
My visions are many, and I know it takes time.
I hope to help increase our choir membership, incorporate instrumentalists into our services, and perhaps build a youth choir.
As our Lenten Season begins, we are already rehearsing on appropriate music. We plan on using flute and trumpet for some of our pieces (we have an 'in-house' flautist, but need to find a trumpeter"). I will be closely working with Pastor Diane in the planning of these upcoming events.
We are also participating in the Good Friday Service, for the performance of "The Seven Last Words of Christ" with some of the local churches. More details as they become available.
I am really looking forward to my first Easter season with all of you. It's one of my favorite times of the year!
Your Music Director,
Spring and ideas are beginning to blossom
There are some exciting
conversations popping up about different things in our church community.
We share some of them here to let you know of opportunities where you
can offer your talents to make these things happen.
We now have not one but three websites!
After deciding at our annual meeting to call ourselves by a consistent name, I created "http://www.monroeucc.org" as our official website with a name closer to our official name, easier to type and to remember than the previous one. The old website will be functioning at least until it starts to cost us money. It will soon begin automatically forwarding visitors to the new site.
If you've been visiting our website frequently, please update your bookmarks (or favorite places) to point to the new location. When the number of visitors to the old site taper off we'll know we can safely pull the plug on it.
The third, and most exciting, website is "http://www.MonroeChurches.org". This will be a shared website posting information of interest to the Monroe community. It will contain basic information on all participating Monroe churches, notices of events such as ecumenical services, musical programs, speakers, and a listing of outreach programs run by the various churches.
Watch for a link to this site from ours as soon at there is anything to show.
As I See It
FAITH BASED CHARITY
This proposal by the new Bush administration has taken something of a back-burner position on the political stove these days. The tax-cut plan is bubbling up in the stockpot instead. But as taxpaying Christians, we should probably stop a minute and consider the implications.
An alert church (mosque, synagogue, etc.) should have a good idea of who needs help in its community, and managing the distribution of aid through it seems sound. Instead of channeling money through broader-serving government agencies, more locally focused communities could potentially benefit.
Noble thoughts. But let's think about this. First, what is a faith-based organization? Is it Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist? Or maybe Native-American, Taoist, Sikh, Animist, Wiccan, Bahai, Or Satanic, Atheist, Scientologist , or perhaps some new one? Remember, the First Amendment to the United States Constitution says: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof" If the U.S. Government can't make the definition, then what rules apply to determine what is a faith-based organization? Who decides?
Remember, too, that these are OUR tax dollars to be distributed. What kind of accountability should the faith-based organization have to taxpayers? How do we know that the money is being used appropriately? (Faithfully?) A government audit process would have to be established. Historically, most churches have not relished the idea of opening their books to federal oversight agencies. In fact, it was an early concept of the Founding Fathers that this should be strictly prohibited. Our country was founded by the ideas of many who fled religious persecution.
What if some churches eventually end up being beholden to the government for funding? How much "influence" should the government have in order for a church to qualify? Should an American flag be present in the sanctuary? Should the church adhere to federal employment laws? What if a program is funded for a while, and then the money is withdrawn? Should the church "adapt" its program to be more politically accommodating in order to keep the mission going?
In my opinion, the government has no business defining or regulating religion, even if we dress it up and call it "faith-based." Neither do I believe that the Feds should be looking over our shoulders in the accounting process. Most importantly, I believe that we should follow what we see God directing us to do with our church and its mission, not a secular agency or its taxpayers. While this initiative gave me a warm, fuzzy feeling for about 30 seconds, the Bush plan for Faith Based Charity is not feasible. Maybe there's something better we can come up with.
Fred Rosenzweig as he mourns the loss of his wife Eileen.
Cecilia Davis, as she recovers from surgery for an injury by her horse.
Wagner Elementary School community as they deal with another loss of a faculty person due
to tragic circumstances.
People in our congregation who are going through transitions due to health issues and job changes.
Keith Ruby for providing beautiful music
for our worship services
Russ Browne for updating and expanding our website offerings.
Women's' Fellowship for their extraordinary
support of our memorial services in February.
As a caring community we want to be aware of the
difficulties our members are experiencing whether health related or
because of other reasons. Please share information with Pastor Diane as
you become learn of such situations. Kris Browne has volunteered to send
cards of comfort and concern to people in our congregation who are experiencing
difficult times so they may be reminded of our love and care for them.
Followed by Easter Breakfast in the fellowship hall.
Easter Church Service at 10:30am.