First Congregational Church of Flagstaff
( A Covenant Church of the United Church of Christ )
740 North Turquoise Drive Flagstaff, Arizona 86001
Uniting Notes — November – 2016
NATURAL AND UNNATURAL SEASONS
There are seasons set by nature and tradition which—ideally—humans are designed to live by. Since we are whole creatures comprising body, emotions and soul, these seasons are important spiritually as well as physically. Yet much of our contemporary world forces us into unnatural seasons: so how do we live in that tension?
Indigenous peoples of Western Europe understood the winter season to be a time for hibernating—insofar as humans can do that. Cold weather drove people indoors and called for conservation of energy, thus November through January was a time for reflection and introspection, time to rest from strenuous labors and focus on the quiet needs of the soul.
For Christians, that same time in the calendar is the season of Advent (awaiting God’s coming) and Christmas (the two weeks of God-birthing-in-us). The seasons of Christian spiritual life are congruent with the natural patterns of the created world, so it is not surprising that these holy seasons are also traditionally times of contemplating, of praying, waiting, embracing the darkness and observing the gradual return of light in one’s inward life.
But now, technology has largely rendered the patterns and limitations of these natural seasons irrelevant. In the Western world, most people have electricity, heating and transportation that renders our lives impervious to the cold and the dark. We don’t need to go dormant, since we have heated cars, heated offices and devices that enable us to work without ceasing (indeed, our technology renders the separate categories of ‘home’ and ‘work’ irrelevant).
Furthermore, the ancient patterns of winter observances have become ironically twisted. Social gatherings in November and December were originally respites from the dangers of isolation, people had to get together to some extent to weather the cold and dark. Advent-season worship was a time of heightened meaning and deepening spirituality. Now, however, we face an overabundance of winter socializing, nonstop parties and social obligations (and yes, usually they are more ‘obligation’ than chosen pleasures).
Commercialism also pushes us out of the patterns of nature and devotion. There is the expectation to buy things for everyone. To provide appropriate gifts (which are in fact social status obligations) we have to put in hours of extra work, adding to the discord between natural and unnatural seasonal patterns.
Our bodies and souls still yearn to follow ancient patterns, to slow down, center, and go inward, at this time of the year; but social demands wrench us away from those needs. Hence, we are caught in a whiplash of the soul, yearning for rest and propelled violently forward at a faster-and-faster-pace. What can we do to resolve this dilemma?
We must learn to oscillate between natural time and industrial time; become amphibians of the soul. It helps to recognize that the rapid fire pace of work and holiday madness is unnatural time, to name it. Having seen hurry for the beast that it is, we can also recognize the possibility of switching to natural and sacred time. Even if it is only for an hour in the evening, we can choose to stay home, turn off our portable communication devices, sit by a fire with a shot of good Scotch (or a cuppa tea if that’s better for you) and just be. Schedule time to read a favorite set of Advent Scriptures or a Christmas novel (Dickens’ Christmas Carol never seems to wear out). Take time to feel the cold, look out the window at the dark, and embrace the pace of the natural world outside.
Beneath the helter-skelter veneer of modern holiday insanity, the deep and the slow world still lies waiting. Seek out those evening or weekend spots where you can settle into the old rhythms of the season: seek them like the buried treasure that they are.
—I owe inspiration for this to Sammie Biter and Rachel Davis, both of Flagstaff Federated Church, for ideas shared during a Forest Church conversation.
UCC Fair Trade Project
More regular coffee is arriving NEXT SUNDAY!
ALL DECAF COFFEE IS $2.00 OFF
Thank you for your support of all these Equal Exchange products!
Equal Exchange was founded in 1986 and is a worker-owned co-op.
That means that each of the 100 worker-owners has an equal stake
and vote in the business. www.equalexchange.coop
FCCF Birthday’s in November are:
Logan Ives – November 20th
Randy Wilson – November 20th
Monte Poen – November 25th
Mike Lurkins – November 26th
FCCF Anniversary’s in November are:
David and Alice Monet – November 24th
For the rest of the story, check out the websites listed below!
Be informed – Southwest Conference United Church of Christ In The Loop
Be informed – Keeping You Posted United Church of Christ
(Just key into your browser, enter and read)
Stephen Ministry will meet at First Congregational Church of Flagstaff on Tuesday, November 15th at 6:00pm.
The meeting will be held in the Pastor’s Office.
If you have any questions please call Martha Garder, 928-525-2762.
Please be sure to use the ramp side door, thanks.
We will never change the world by going to church.
We will only change the world by being the church.
Please join us for an interactive workshop on faith and LGBT inclusion that is especially important for Allies and family members, on Nov. 2 at First Congregational Church of Flagstaff from 1-3. 75% of Arizonans believe that the LGBT community is protected by both state and federal laws; neither is true! ONE Community is working everyday to create an Arizona that respects, protects and celebrates our diverse community to build the best possible future for Arizona! People of faith are needed to help us build a community with room for all. We promise that this two hours will open your eyes and hearts to both the need and ways to work for change!
To RSVP please email Rev. Debra Peevey, firstname.lastname@example.org
Wild Goose Chase – How did we get that name?
A “wild-goose chase” was once a sort of game – a horse race in which the second and each succeeding horse had to follow the leader accurately and at a definite interval. Since the horses had to keep their positions like geese in flight, the chase was called a “ wild-goose chase” ; and since this was no race – for no one could win – we adopted the phrase to describe a person following a course that leads to no goal.
Hanging of the Green’s
Sunday, November 20th
Following the Service
Knit Wit’s, Too, meet in the Fellowship Room, at 1:30 pm, on Saturday, November 19, 2016.
Anyone who loves to knit or crochet, is welcome to attend.
These items are really appreciated by members of our community!
Check out the example in the Fellowship Room.
Breakfast is the meal NOT to skip!
FCCF meets Thursday mornings at 8:00am for Breakfast at Coco’s on the 2nd and 4th Thursday of the month. That’s Thursday, November 10, 2016 and November 24, 2016. The 4th Thursday is Thanksgiving and you will have to be content with Thanksgiving Dinner with your friends and family!
Have a very happy Thanksgiving.
Women’s Fellowship Luncheon will be on Wednesday, November 16, 2016 Noon, at Cracker Barrel.
Come and enjoy the fellowship and the good food.
Sounds like fun to start the Holidays!
The Book Group is reading “Zen and the Art of Happiness”. Location and date TBA.
The Prayer Circle will meet Tuesday, November 1, 2016 in the Fellowship Room at Noon.
Bring something to share for lunch.
In our prayers….
The Family of Don Smith Kay and Monty Poen
David Toms Sterling and Phil Daykin
Mary Drake Sylvia Lee
Marge Markel Dick and Katie Kilgore
Laureen Antes Cyndi, Terry, and Levi Cerre
Joyce and Michelle Neal Ruth Reid
“I look to you in every need, and never look in vain, I feel your strong and tender love, and all is well again.” NCH #463
CRAFTS OF MANY COLORS
4th YEAR IN A ROW
Saturday, November 12th at First Congregational Church on Turquoise
9:00am to 3:00pm
(Think about Christmas shopping, gift shopping for all occasions, something you always wanted)
LOCAL HANDMADE CRAFTS
ANTIQUES & COLLECTIBLES
NORTHERN ARIZONA CELTIC SOCIETY
10,000 VILLAGES CRAFT ITEMS
EQUAL EXCHANGE COFFEE, TEA, & CHOCOLATES
10,000 Villages craft items will be sold again this year at our Crafts of Many Colors sale on Saturday, November 12th from 9:00 – 3:00. This is an opportunity to buy beautiful, fair trade gifts from artisans in developing countries. We need 6 people to help with set up on Friday, November,11th at 6:00 pm and/or Saturday morning starting at 8:00am. If you would like to volunteer at this event, please sign up on the list at the back of the sanctuary or let Marsha McIntosh know you would like to help.
From Cindy Lurkins:
Smoked Sausage Skillet Our November Recipe of the Month
1 package – smoked sausage, sliced thin and diagonally
2 cloves of garlic, crushed or minced
1/4 cup—olive oil
1 large red bell pepper, sliced thin
1 small to medium yellow onion, sliced thin
1 package frozen broccoli, thawed, fresh is ok
1/2 cup chicken broth, or water
1/2 cup tomato sauce, ketchup ok
2 cups instant rice
1/2 cup shredded Mozzarella Cheese
Heat olive oil and garlic in skillet.
Stir in smoked sausage, cook until browned.
Add pepper, onion, broccoli, broth and tomato sauce.
Simmer 10 minutes or until the vegetables are tender and liquid is absorbed.
(You can leave some liquid if you want to thicken by adding cornstarch.)
In the mean time, prepare the rice.
Stir rice into skillet and add cheese and serve.
You can serve mixture over rice and sprinkle with cheese.
(You might be able to use left over ham or turkey?)
VISION OF A JUST WORLD UNDERSCORES CLEARER UCC PURPOSE AND MISSION
A vision of a just world for all people will guide and shape the future work of the United Church of Christ. It’s a vision that the denomination’s General Minister and President and unified Board of Directors are prepared to own as part of a refreshed set of Purpose, Mission and Vision statements. “I can’t even begin to express how proud I am of our beloved United Church of Christ for articulating not just a purpose, mission, and vision – but this purpose, mission and vision,” said the Rev. John Dorhauer, UCC general minister and president. The UCC purpose statement comes from the Gospel of Matthew: To love God with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength and our neighbor as ourselves. Mission statement: United in Spirit and inspired by God’s grace, we welcome all, love all, and seek justice for all. And the vision: United in Christ’s love, a just world for all. “Every week I travel the globe witnessing what it looks like when the United Church of Christ commits itself to love and justice,” Dorhauer said. “I call upon every covenant partner to embrace fully this call to love and justice; and to share with leaders in the church what that expression of love looks like in their ministry setting.” The Rev. Sue Artt, conference minister of the Rocky Mountain Conference UCC and moderator of General Synod 2017, believes the statements resonate with the hearts of progressive Christians and offer a renewed sense of unity to the church. “As spiritual beings created by God to be God’s hands in the world, hearing this purpose, mission and vision really articulates our sense of calling as God’s servants,” Artt said. “It’s a deeply satisfying way in which we are called into action.”
To craft these statements, the national setting has brought together dialogue partners from the UCC board, national staff, the UCC Historical Council, the Council of Conference Ministers and youth representatives over the last year, and included survey results from thousands of voices across the life of the denomination. What emerged was a clear focus on the love of God and love of neighbors.
“That love in action envisions a just world for all,” Dorhauer said.
Board members overwhelmingly affirmed the statements during their fall business meeting from Oct. 20-22. Said board member Kevin Peterson, “I really appreciate that there is no insider language, and no acronyms. It says a lot to the outside church because it communicates to the wider church. It has God and spirit language that specifically identifies us as Christians.”
Pacific Northwest Conference (PNC) Minister the Rev. Mike Denton was enthusiastic about the statements: “I’m considering bringing these to PNC to adopt as their own,” he said. “This matches up with much of what we’ve been discussing, and adopting these would give us the opportunity for a unique sort of alignment. It might be worth more conversation to see if others want to do the same in other settings. I think this could be a way to display heathy covenant and healthy autonomy.” “I liked the way that — in just five words — our vision conveys what we believe so succinctly,” said Board member the Rev. Kevin Omi. “I can talk about it in an inclusive manner because the language is inclusive of everyone.” Dorhauer named the Purpose, Mission and Vision statements as one of the most significant pieces of work to date in his call as general minister and president. “We all bear responsibility for living out our shared mission. We will not achieve our full potential — nor maintain our full capacity for health, vitality, and relevance — without a clear sense of missional purpose and calling. This effort to identify that was a critical step in the direction of our future health and vitality — but it will only matter if we can all find common cause in this and commit fully, with passion, and without reserve to its undertaking.”
Taken from United Church of Christ News by Anthony Moujaes