Many thanks to Michael and Linda Smyser for their labor of love on a sunny
Saturday, raking and bagging leaves in the front yard of CLC!
Also, three cheers for John Passaro and Bob Bookwalter who replaced ceiling
tiles and lights in the narthex on the same day!
The Red Banner that is now on display in the front of the Sanctuary
was presented in Celebration of the 25th Anniversary of the Congregation
The Green Banners representing Communion and Alpha & Omega at this time represent Ordinary Time in the church year.
The Purple Banners with the Crown of Thorns and Palm Branch will be hung for Lent.
Blue for Advent representing Christ the light to come.
White for Christmas with a star in the form of a cross and light rays in the background.
We will celebrate the Easter Season with Printed Faux Foil Banners, Combining”old World” styling .
“Alleluia” “He has Risen”
When you come to church during the Easter Season you will see the new banner.
The Art and Environment team welcomes comments, and encourages members to join the A & E Team
which works under supervision of the Worship and Music Team.
Joan Heath (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Art and Environment / CLC
“Falling Upward: Spirituality for the Two Halves of Life” by Richard Rohr
The message of Falling Upward is straightforward: the spiritual life is not static. You will come to a crisis in your life, and after the crisis, if you are open to it, you will enter a space of spiritual refreshment, peace and compassion that you could not have imagined before. Rohr’s framework leans heavily on Carl Jung. The spiritual life has two stages. In the first half of life, you are devoted to establishing yourself; you focus on making a career and on finding friends and a partner; you are crafting your identity. Spiritually, people in the first half of life are often drawn to order, to religious routine. We are developing habits and letting ourselves be shaped by the norms and practices of our family and community.
Then—a crisis. “Some kind of falling,” Rohr says, is necessary for continued spiritual development. “Normally a job, fortune, or reputation has to be lost,” writes Rohr, “a death has to be suffered, a house has to be flooded, or a disease has to be endured.” The crisis can be devastating. The crisis undoes you. The flood doesn’t just flood your house—it washes out your spiritual life. What you thought you knew about living the spiritual life no longer suffices for the life you are living.
The notion that a fall must precede growth does not come just from Jung. As Rohr notes, it is written into the very life of Christ, who descended to the dead before he could be resurrected and ascend into heaven. The falling will happen—there is no way to avoid it. But the growth, the second half of life, doesn’t necessarily happen. You can stay stuck if you wish. You can refuse the second half.
If you welcome the second half of life, this is what you will find: you learn to hear “a deeper voice of God” than you heard before. “It will sound an awful lot like the voices of risk, of trust, of surrender, of soul, of ‘common sense,’ of destiny, of love, of an intimate stranger, of your deepest self.” You find that you can let go of things—pain, judgments, even the need to make judgments. You may find that you are reading a lot of poetry; you may find that you are reading the mystics, who seemed opaque to you before. There is a gravitas in this second half of life, writes Rohr, but it is “held up by a much deeper lightness.” (Book Review by Lauren F. Winner, Christian Century)
What I liked most about the weekend was the comradery, the band of brothers in Christ, sharing our beliefs. The lessons from Fr. Rohr’s video and book were informative and so very timely. Amazing that his talk was eight years ago, yet so prescient to today’s political climate. Meeting with our St. Andrew’s brothers expanded friendships and provided fodder for future men’s events at Community. All in all, a great and meaningful retreat.
– Michael Smyser
Strength in numbers brought me closer to understanding Christ.
— Rick Garverick
I thought this was one of the best Men’s Retreats we have done! Fr. Rohr’s descriptions and comments of Spirituality for the Two Halves of Your Life were not only to the point, but also ON point in light of today’s events. Our secular lives and our spiritual lives are ever changing. We have falls as we suffer crisis in our secular lives. How we handle those falls, and learn from them in the context of how Jesus handled crisis in his life increases our spiritual lives – we have spiritual growth through “Falling Upward”.
— Don Poorman
I was lead and mentored this weekend into 2nd half of life wisdom and living of Jesus. I enjoyed the weekend, it was exactly what I needed.
-Malcolm Uffelman (from St. Andrew Lutheran)
I’ve tried to find time every year to take intentional time away from my “normal” life to reconnect with God. These men’s retreats provide a great opportunity to do that in a beautiful setting with the added bonus of getting acquainted (or re-acquainted) with other Christian men. This year’s retreat, which included sessions on Richard Rohr’s “Falling Upward,” really hit the spot. Thinking about Rohr’s framework of the two stages of our spiritual life (building self and learning to hear God’s call outside of self) and being able to discuss it in a non-threatening environment with a wonderful group of men was a very refreshing experience for me. I really enjoyed the opportunity to renew old acquaintances and build some new relationships in a comfortable rustic setting.
– Mike Tinman
The conversations in large and small groups was supportive, Fr. Rohr gave us much to think about, the humor and laughter was fun. I appreciated our moments of prayer and worship. It was good to be with our brothers from St. Andrew Lutheran. We all received and shared as we took on the theme: “Falling Upward: Spirituality for the Two Halves of Life.” May God continue to help us support, challenge and accompany one another in our Baptismal Journey and Christian walk through all the changes and chances of life, the blessings and the burdens, the dying and risings…until our lives and baptism is complete.
–Pr. Joe Vought
On Saturday, February 3rd members of Community Lutheran Church gathered with congregations in the area to support our Muslim neighbors at the Adams Center mosque.
I found that I received so much more than I gave by standing outside with my sign showing support. I was greeted with hugs, hand shakes, smiles, food and gratitude for that support. I experienced tears, hope and a renewed faith in mankind. My hope is that by this small gesture I was able to give one person hope that America is a place of good people that will stand up together in a time of trial. – Sherry F
I was as thankful for the welcome that we received at the ADAMS center as our Muslim neighbors were for our standing with them. When we stand together, we know we can walk together – Mark B.
I wanted to show support for the Muslim community because they’re our neighbors, friends, brothers & sisters. They work, raise families, worship and add value to our nation just like all of us. We were moved by their warmth and hospitality and they were moved by our presence. Wonderful experience – Kay F.
We went to let our Muslim brothers and sisters know that we view them as neighbors in our community, but we were blessed by their hospitality and the conversations we had with them. What would it look like if we all mixed and mingled with people who are different from ourselves more regularly? I bet we’d find what we found yesterday – we have so much more in common than we ever thought. – Pr Annabelle
My initial thought “if this is going to be a shout down between opposing groups, than I am out of here” What I found was something I shall cherish the rest of my life. Hugs – tears – soft voices – clasping of hands – gratitude – embracement – feeding the hungry – so much more. I think I have found my calling. I want to do more. Thank you for inviting me CLC. – Tom F
There was genuine joy on their faces. One of the most touching for me was when a young man came to shake my hand. Making note of how cold I must be, he was touched that on older lady would be there to support him. It was not in any way an insult, but a sign of respect that their culture exhibits for older people.
Tears in the eyes of both men and women that we would stand in the cold to support them, shaking hands and hugging many of them. They brought us food and hot coffee. A young girl with her mom gave us hand made thank you cards. We were surprised at the number of men who talked to us about their feelings and love of America and how thankful they were here. Many have been here for decades and this is their home. We had tears when some of their older women could hardly contain themselves at our being there. A great sense of community. I haven’t hugged and shook hands with so many people in ages. – Marilyn B.
I was deeply touched and humbled by the gracious expressions of thanks from so many of our Muslim neighbors. I can only hope that our small gesture of solidarity will help to lighten what one woman called the recent “dark days”. Betty O.
Dee McGibbon is a blessing to CLC and to the Cold Weather Program. This is her thank you to the congregation of CLC.
This program operates every year from 11/15-3/31. The goal of the Cold Weather Program is to provide a warm, safe sleeping environment for anyone experiencing homelessness during these months. This program runs from 9pm-7am each evening providing case management support, mental health services and resources needed to move clients from homelessness to housing. CLC participates by providing dinner on Mondays with Dee McGibbon at the lead. She writes:
“Donations are all in and the cold weather program is well underway for this season. Thanks to the generosity of so many, we feed 15-20 homeless a week and well over 350 for the season.
So many giving people donated turkeys, chickens, hams, hamburgers, hot dogs and tuna. Thank you to Marilyn Bowers, Debbie Nandury, Joan Heath, Joe and Debra Vought, Deborah Kalas, Joel and Alice Sletten, Annette Ensley, Linda Smyser, Cori Sanzano, Diane Miller, Barbara Schmidt, Brenda Koontz, Dave and Annette Douglas, Roberta Buxton, Heather Williams, Sheila Bjorlo, Margaret Selland, and Cathy Malec.
So Many others have donated their time in the kitchen. Thank you to : Petra Buzzell, Nate Alves, Brenda Koontz, Bettyann Biber, the Nail family, Roberta Buxton, Marsha Rogers, Sarah Watkins, Tammy Krohn, Sherry Fitzsimmons, the Girls Scouts and Youth of CLC.
Thank you so much as well as the folks who donated 12 pies from the Mom’s Apple Pie fundraiser (for the preschool). What a blessing you are CLC!”
Finding Advent in the midst of our highly commercialized Christmas holidays is not for the fainthearted. Our ‘secular Christmas’ seems to begin when Halloween ends, so Advent is easily lost in the busyness of the season. To draw more attention to Advent this year, we created family activities for each day of advent. We put those activities on cards that included Bible verses to ponder each day. Those cards were put into small boxes for each family in the congregation to take home. The entire family could give daily thought and action to the meaning of Advent.
We continued with the “Finding Advent” theme by giving small gifts to the children at each service during the four Advent Sundays.
We began with the candles to symbolize lighting the way to Christmas on the 1st Sunday.
On the 2nd Sunday there were Paper White bulbs for the children to plant to represent new life and new birth.
On the Third Sunday of Advent, the children were given magnifying glasses to help them “search” for advent.
Finally on the last Sunday of Advent, the children were given a set of materials for creating their own crèche to celebrate the birth of Jesus in the Manager.
Our hope was that with these small reminders we could encourage families to reflect more deeply upon the true meaning of Advent and the coming Christ child.
A special Thanks to Betty O’Lear who put together all these items including the boxes and to gave assistance in getting this article together. We are blessed with so many special talented people at CLC.
CLC is blessed to have a very active Book Club that has been going strong for 6+ years and since we started keeping records we have read 73 books. What an amazing group!!
We had one visitor this week that didn’t even read the book and enjoyed the discussion enough to maybe come back again. Just proves you don’t have to read the book to join us and it might intrigue you to read it.
One of our talented members, Mark Becker was willing to share his notes on our book for the month. After reading these notes you might be tempted to pick up the book Accidental Saints: Finding God in All the Wrong People by Nadia Bolz-Weber
Accidental Saints: Finding God in All the Wrong People (Nadia Bolz-Weber)
Bolz-Weber offers a series of confessional vignettes, weaving together the stories of her characters, built around the liturgical calendar: the book begins and ends within the setting of All Saints Day. Without her characters, ordinary, if flawed people, there are no stories.
While she claims that, “Some identifying details have been changed to protect the privacy of some really amazing people”, I certainly hope that she vetted these stories with her characters before publishing, because, as a very popular author, she walks a fine line between exposition, and exploitation of those same characters.
Bolz-Weber certainly exposes her own fears, and I appreciate her expressions of vulnerability, personally relating to what she writes on p.17: “… the insulation my ego provides clocks out as I’m about to fall asleep, and uglier truths claw their way to the surface. …in these times I feel closest to God. … when I’m lying in bed half-asleep, feeling defenseless.”
An important question that Bolz-Weber explores is “what makes us saints?” On p.6 she offers this: “… it is not our ability to be saintly but rather God’s ability to work through sinners.” On p.30 she amplifies this when she observes: “… Jesus didn’t scan the room for the best example of holy living and send that person out to tell others about him. He always sent stumblers and sinners”
Whereas readers may take issue with her use of questionable language, I do appreciate Bolz-Weber’s candor and honesty as she writes on p. 124: “… we aren’t punished for our sins as much as we are punished by our sins.”
Her keen insight is displayed with the observation she makes with regard to God’s power, on p.140: “We need God for light and warmth, but we also need some protection… because we would cripple under God’s truth, unfiltered.”
In light of this awesome power, she notes, on p.157: “We ask for God’s loving-kindness to be with us, because we just don’t have enough of our own.” A few pages later, on p.165, she then states our need for community: “We cannot create for ourselves God’s word of grace. We must tell it to each other. It’s a terribly inconvenient and often uncomfortable way for things to happen.”
This may be why many find comfort in the community called “church”, still, on p.179, one of her parishioners points out that: “Church is not perfect. It is practice.” As radical as she may appear, and sometimes sound, she describes herself as an orthodox Lutheran who finds importance in following the liturgy, and that this is what brings order to the chaotic lives of her congregation.
Liturgical aspects of The House for All Sinners and Saints are something that Bolz-Weber references frequently, and I particularly like the way she writes about the paschal candles. Very early in the book, on p.10, she offers: “… each of our paschal candles has been created out of the melted down remains of all the candles used in the previous months.”
Then, at the very end of the book, on p.190, she re-introduces the paschal candle in a metaphorical sense: “… our melted selves are poured back into another form that still bears the marks of how we got there. Then we become something that can bear light, the brightness of which is not diminished, even when divided and borrowed.”
Hope this sparks some interest!!
The Annual Christmas Caroling Event happened on December 11th and we had a wonderful time singing together, drinking (and spilling) hot cocoa, and mastering all of the Christmas Carols that we could muster. The carolers began at Starbucks, and then we went over to Corner Bakery, where we sang 4 or 5 songs and then received Cocoa from the wonderful staff at Corner Bakery. We then ventured to Giant where we sang to all of the shoppers as they entered and left the building. Big thanks to all who came out and shared their talent.
At the 4:30 Family Service, we celebrated the birth of Christ with glow sticks as we sang “Joy to the World!” Check it out:
Then, at 7:00 and 9:30 p.m. we sang the beautiful song “Silent Night” by candlelight:
Remember, the 12 Days of Christmas continue until Epiphany on January 6th! Even more, the birth of Christ is only the beginning. That means you can keep on celebrating what the coming of Christ means for you and your family, not just at Christmas, but throughout the year.
The kids from Community Lutheran Church’s Sunday School performed a Christmas pageant called Christmas Around the World. The older kids decorated a tree throughout the program with symbols of Christmas from different countries and shared their meaning. The children sang some traditional Christmas songs as well as Our Promised King Is Born, Jesus, Born in Bethlehem and Spread a Little Love. The kids all did a fantastic job learning their speaking parts and the songs. It was a great performance enjoyed by our congregation.