Volume 3, Issue 7

From the Pastor

Hello members and friends,

I'm delighted to be here at Monroe as your pastor. There is an abundance of good will and hospitality in this community and a palpable hope for this church to grow into the fullest expression of God that it can be. We are beginning a journey together that will take us somewhere we have not yet been. What that looks like and how it will change us is yet to unfold but I have great confidence that it will be good. As Advent approaches I look forward to us "preparing the way" for a new birth in our individual lives, in this church and in the larger Monroe community. Times of changes often break us open in unexpected ways so that we see a new path that previously was hidden. In these coming months we shall search together to discern what is the unique calling of the Monroe Congregational Church today and how we might live that out as a vibrant and faithful community of God.

Most of you know that I am a part-time pastor but most of you also probably wonder what that actually means. I have covenanted with the church to work 20 hours a week. I'm generally at the church about 3-4 hours on Sundays and about 7-8 hours on Wednesdays. The rest of the hours are used to do my sermon preparation while at home.

A typical Wednesday might look like this: On my way into town I stop and pick up the mail and copies of the Monroe Monitor and other newspapers. My earlier morning hours are spent catching up on what's happening in the larger Monroe community. I think it's vitally important that I be aware of who the community is and what issues are prevalent. Going through the mail I also get a sense of that from area mailings including newsletters and notices from other churches.

I prepare the worship information for the Bulletin; selecting hymns, writing prayers, creating a sermon title, Thought for Meditation, etc. I visit with different members with whom I've scheduled meetings or who drop by and make pastoral calls as needed. I respond to phone messages, e-mail and regular mail. Occasionally I meet with a church committee; usually those meetings happen on Sundays after church.

In addition, I try to allocate a portion of my time to the following: going through files in my office to get a better sense of what's there and to learn about the history of our church, reading UCC national level news and publications, reading Conference level and local UCC church information and newsletters, reading about church growth and development, walking or driving around exploring Monroe, considering future worship ideas particularly around liturgical seasons, reflecting on Christian education possibilities and mission opportunities.

I'm planning to soon have again a Wednesday evening youth group time from 4-5pm on Wednesdays where we can sing, tell stories, explore the Bible, and get to know each other. I am also planning to set-up some meetings or lunches with local church pastors and some community leaders. After the New Year, I would like to start some adult education classes covering whatever topics would be of interest to folks.

Primarily, I'm using this beginning time to listen and learn the stories of this church and the history of the larger Monroe community. I want to know about your experiences of our church and ideas you have about how we worship together, how we work together, how we might serve the Monroe community, and how we live our lives as faithful Christians. I'm interested in hearing your faith questions and the challenges of your day-to-day life and will offer you whatever support I can. Your experience with the church - whether short or long, joyful or challenging - is wisdom that will help us move into our future. I welcome conversation with you. If Wednesdays and Sundays do not work as meeting times for you, let me know and I can see about arranging an alternative time.

Pastor Diane

Church is on the Web!

What is a church website good for? In my opinion, the website can and should serve three purposes. It can be a medium to attract new members, it can be a repository for information for church members, and it can be point of interest for anyone stumbling onto the site while surfing the web.

Realistically, I doubt that anyone goes hunting for a church on the web. But a person who has attended a few services here and wants to learn more about us before making a commitment is likely to visit the church website. A well designed and informative site is likely to be a plus.

For church members, the website has vast potential for archiving information. We are currently posting Diane's sermons and the newsletters. It would be easy to add a page posting announcements so that members who missed a service could log in (from public library if traveling) to check announcements.

Any interest in this?

I will soon be adding several pages on our church's history. Thanks to Joann Meeds and Helen Dunlap for providing the raw information! I think this page will serve all three of my stated goals: Helping new members pick up the church background, a depository of information for all members, and interesting reading for anybody.

For those who don't have internet access but would like to checkout the site, simply take this article to your public library and the librarian will show you how to get started.

Russ Browne

Prayer Concerns:

For our church members and friends who, for health reasons, are no longer able to make it to worship services; we hold them in our hearts as part of this community.

Healing prayers for Dorothy Molberg,

For Joyce Smith and her family on the death of her husband Leo on November 4, 2000

Thanks . . .

Who Am I? - Pastor Diane

It's hard to sum up 48 years in some paragraphs but here's a peek at my history!

My early years were spent in Portland and Spokane as the oldest child of four children. My first experience of church came when we moved to Spokane and began attending a neighborhood church; I was 12 years old. I was baptized and confirmed there and after a few years became the church organist. As an adolescent then privy to more of the interactions in the church I was shocked to find that church people were no holier than others! As I began college I left church life behind for what turned out to be a lengthy period of time.

I moved to Seattle after college and felt immediately I had "come home." The natural beauty of this area fully captured me. Eventually I married and had two children, Geoffrey (now 16) and Michael (now 11). Being pregnant and giving birth were profoundly spiritual journeys for me.

We moved to New Mexico and spent 5 years there while my husband and I managed a computer business owned by his parents. During this time I had several spiritual experiences that awakened anew in me a thirst to know God. Because of my disillusionment with my previous church experience and my increased feminist understanding of the patriarchy embedded in the church I experienced a chasm with traditional Christianity that was to big to cross at that time. My spiritual quest led me to explore Eastern traditions, Native American spirituality, and several "new-thought" churches. I learned Buddhist meditation, danced with the Sufis, drummed and participated in sweat lodges and found a myriad of ways to experience the Holy. I know now that time of solitary "desert wandering" produced the first seeds of my call to ministry.

We returned to Seattle and as the years passed and my sons grew older I knew I would not be content to return to my business management career of the past. I looked at the world differently now and wanted work that would make a clear impact on people's lives. I explored educational possibilities in the areas of ministry and counseling. At the same time I recognized I was yearning to be part of a community with which to ponder spiritual questions. I also felt ready to re-approach my own Judeo-Christian heritage. I visited a few Seattle churches upon the recommendations of friends and found a home at University Congregational Church in Seattle. It was only when I went through the new member process that I realized the church of my youth had also been a Congregational church. I had come full circle.

In 1993, I began my seminary education at the Seattle University Institute for Ecumenical Theological Studies. It was a stimulating and enriching experience. I was blessed to be studying with students from 10 Protestant denominations as well as with my Catholic friends. I was forced to continually question and re-evaluate my beliefs about myself, others and God. This was not easy work nor was it a process isolated from the rest of my life. One of the outcomes of that journey was a decision to leave my marriage of 14 years.

Once we experience the fullness of God in our lives, we cannot go back to living in ways that restrict and deaden that fullness. Nevertheless, there is nothing in my life that has caused me as much grief as ending my marriage. I know what it is to rage at God because my life hasn't turned out like I planned. I have learned how grace is infinite and healing and forgiveness are possible with the help of God.

When I graduated in the spring of 1999, I gave myself some time to just rest and heal from the journey of the past several years. I continued to work as Director of a student program at Seattle University. One day this last July I e-mailed Randy Hyvonen, our conference minister, and asked to meet with him to work on my profile (what is given to churches when they are looking for a minister). He e-mailed me back very quickly and expressed his amazement at the uncanny timing of my message. He was about to e-mail me regarding a unique situation available up in Monroe: he was looking for a few people to interview with the church about a part-time covenant for a year. I smiled at the synchronicity of our communication and expected something serendipitous was about to happen. It did. Here I am. I give thanks for your generous welcome; I look forward to our future together.

Pastor Diane

The Lectionary

(Some people have asked the pastor how she chooses the readings for each Sunday. They are taken from a common series of readings called a "lectionary" used by many churches throughout the country and the world.)

The lectionary exists to provide for the church over a given period of time (usually three years) large units of Scripture arranged according to the seasons of the Christian year and selected because they carry the central message of the Bible. The readings provide a common ground for discussions in ministerial peer groups; family worship can more easily join public worship through shared readings; and the lectionary encourages more disciplined study and advance preparation. All these and other values are increased if churches share a common lectionary. A common lectionary could conceivably generate a community wide Christian conversation.

The first Common Lectionary was issued in 1983 and churches were invited to use it and offer suggestions for amendments and modifications. In December, 1991 a final draft of the calendar and table of readings was completed. Three years worth of readings were divided into "Year A," "Year B," and Year C." The year begins at Advent; this year the lectionary is "Year C."

(Taken from "Preaching Through the Christian Year")

Upcoming Lectionary Readings:

November 12, 2000:
	Ruth 3:1-5, 4:13-17 and Psalm 127
        or 1 Kings 17:8-16 and Psalm 146,
        Hebrews 9:24-28,
        Mark 12:38-44

November 19, 2000
	1 Samuel 1:4-20 and
        1 Samuel 2:1-10 or
        Daniel 12:1-3 and
        Psalm 16,
        Hebrews 10:11-14(15-18), 19-25,
        Mark 13:1-8

November 26, 2000
	2 Samuel 23:1-7 and Psalm 132:1-12, (13-18)
        or Daniel 7:9-10, 13-14 and Psalm 93,
        Revelation 1:4b-8, John 18:33-37

December 3, 2000
        Jeremiah 33:14-16
        Psalm 25:1-10
        1 Thessalonians 3:9-13
        Luke 21:25-36

December 10, 2000
        Baruch 5:1-9 or Malachi 3:1-4
        Luke 1:68-79	
        Phillippians 1:3-11
        Luke 3:1-6

December 17, 2000
        Zephaniah 3:14-20
        Isaiah 12:2-6
        Phillippians 4:4-7
        Luke 3:7-18

December 24, 2000
        Micah 5:2-5a
        Luke 1:46b-55 or Psalm 80:1-7
        Hebrews 10:5-10
        Luke 1:39-45, (46-55)

From the Moderator

Dear Friends,

What an exciting time we are facing. We have a great new Pastor, the holiday season will soon be here and we have many new things we will be doing. It has been a full and busy summer, and hopefully now we can all work together toward making our church the best it has been in a long time. We really do have such a neat church here, I hope others will make that discovery.

I would like to thank all of those who helped me in so very many ways during this time when I had lots to do. I appreciate you more than I can possibly express.

And at this holiday time we will be thinking of our pledges for the next year. I have been so impressed with the way our pledges have gone this year. We have had fewer pledges but those have been most generous, we have truly grown in faith. Pledge cards will soon be sent out, and I'm hoping we will all fill them out with prayerful consideration.

I really think we all should be very proud of ourselves. We have had many challenges and met them graciously and steadfastly. We all pulled together when there was a need and things were taken care of quietly and competently. We have raised money to buy new hymnals. It will be exciting to begin singing the new hymns, some of which we are already familiar from the inserts we have used in our bulletin.

We continue to reach out to each other with Christian love and meet the needs of those in our church community, as well as the wider community in so very many different ways.

I am looking forward to our future. It will be full of surprises and work and fun. I know we will be up to the challenge; we have proven it already. I have the feeling there will not be a lot of dull moments.

Peace and love,
Davi Message from the Trustees:

We had a great gathering Sunday, October 28, both in church and at our pot-luck for pastor Diane. We appreciate her coming to us. I'm sure we will become strong again in numbers.

The trustees are working on our new budget for 2001 and hoping everyone will continue to support the church as in the past years. Letters are going out as this is being printed about Stewardship 2001 and the needs for the coming year.

Our new hymnals will be here by the holidays thanks to the donations made from members and friends in memory of loved ones. The hymnals are The New Century Hymnal, produced to update the theology and language of our beloved but dated Pilgrim Hymnal.

Carolyn Boyes


Sun. Nov. 12 - Cabinet meeting after worship

Sun. Nov. 19 - Diaconate meeting

Sun. Nov. 26 - Welcoming Com.

Mondays - Brown Bag Study Group - 12:30 p.m

Tuesdays - Quilters - 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Wednesdays - Men's Group - 7 p.m.

Women's Group - 2nd Tuesday each month - 1 p.m.

Taize' worship - 1st Sunday each month - 6 p.m.

Wed. Nov. 22: Pastor Diane addresses Monroe Kiwanis - noon - Valley General. Hospital

Wed. Dec. 20 - Prayer service - grief and loss

Dec. 24: Christmas Eve Candlelight & Carols Service, 7pm

Feb. 2, 3, & 4, WNI-UCC Men's Retreat - Pilgrim Firs (Feb. 1, silent retreat day)

April 27, 28 & 29 Washington North Idaho UCC Annual Meeting in Wenatchee

Coming Up . . .

* On Wednesday, December 20 at 6pm, there will be a healing prayer service in the sanctuary. For many people the holidays can be a painful time because of past losses or difficult current situations. We will come together to honor those experiences and open ourselves to comfort and healing from God.

* An Advent reflection booklet is being prepared for distribution to our congregation. It will include prayers, stories and some simple rituals to help us all focus in on the mystery of this season of waiting.

*We will be organizing a caroling party - stay tuned!