Let the games begin…err…Let our education begin!

I can just imagine an announcer with a booming voice letting people know that the fun is about to start.
My last post was about how September has arrived and with it comes programming.
But it seems like now things are really getting started.

This past Sunday, two of our congregations had Rally Sunday, and two more celebrate theirs this coming Sunday.
The kids are back to Sunday School after a summer off.
We are getting things ready to learn and teach all we can about our triune God, the Bible and our Christian church.

But we are also educating not just the children.
Adults need to learn and grow in their faith as well.
There are a few educational events starting up and all are welcome to attend.

Tomorrow night (Thurs, Sept 13) at 7:00 at First Presbyterian in Cooper, a group of people interested in God and church are gathering together to discuss the first chapter of Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s Life Together. If I’m not mistaken, the chapter is titled Community, so you can come whether or not you’ve read much Bonhoeffer. This group that meets monthly is officially called “lay disciples” but don’t let that name scare you off. Anyone who is interested is welcome to join, whether clergy or lay people, since we are all disciples of Christ.

Next week, Lutheran Church of McVille will be hosting a Bible study where Pastor Jessica will walk through various stories about women in the Bible. That group gathers at 9:00 am on Wednesday mornings. The folks in Binford heard much of this during last school year, but we can read and hear the same lessons numerous times and learn something new. This group meets weekly through the school year, so feel free to stop by whenever you are in town!

Also next week, we are starting up a new group in McVille. Some men have expressed an interest in having their own time to study Scripture since most Bible study groups tend to have the men outnumbered by women. I set up an initial time of 4:00 on Thursday as a time to start meeting. This is a new ministry and I hope that there are men across our TCM parish and in surrounding communities who would be interested in gathering for some time to read scripture and talk in a setting meant for them.

I know that next month, Trinity Lutheran in Binford will be starting up adult education once again following their 8:30 worship time. More details to come later.

If you ever have an idea for education or activities that you feel we have overlooked, please let us know.
I love planning and organizing events and helping you to find a place in the Church where your interests and needs fit.

Adult Discussion Group at Trinity Learn about Women in the Bible

Today the adult discussion group from Trinity finished up their discussion on some women of the Bible.  We had a chance to explore Sophia (Wisdom) & Eve, Sarah & Hagar, Jael & Judith, the woman at the well & the Syrophonecian woman, Elizabeth & the widow of Nain, and, finally, the women in Romans 16.

 These women had stories to tell.  We knew them from the scripture passages that introduced us to them; but, we also learned that as women of flesh and blood their stories held more than just what was in print.  And, as for Sophia, her story begins before time began. 

Some things that struck us were (just some things – there were so many I can’t list them all):

            Eve had to mourn the loss of a son to murder and another son to exile (because he was the murderer)

            Hagar is the only person in the Bible to give God a name.  (El-roi)

            Both Jael & Judith were women of strong character who delivered their people from the enemy.

            Phoebe was a deacon and Junia was an apostle.

            Sophia (Wisdom) was with God in the beginning.

Through these stories we learned that we have stories to tell as well.  That all who gather to learn about the people of the Bible and read their stories have the stories of his/her own in his/her journey with God.  Some of the women’s stories helped us to speak; some caused us to pause and look at our own lives; some will keep us wondering.

Maybe during this Lent season you may find yourself wanting to explore the women of the Bible and through them take your own journey of discovery.  Forty days of learning about them; forty days of learning more about yourself: who you are, and whose you are.

 Blessed Lent, Pastor Jessica

End of Genesis

This morning at bible study in McVille, we completed reading through all 50 chapters of the book of Genesis.

We started this journey back in early October and officially finished on Feb 15. That is 4 months of reading the stories and hearing how God was always at work with imperfect people prone to making stupid mistakes, and yet in the midst of their brokenness God was always at work and accomplishing what God intended to happen.

Next week, on Ash Wednesday, we are going to start reading the gospel of Mark. For the church year, Mark is the gospel we focus on and read from. So we are going to sit down, read through it without jumping from story to story like in the lectionary, and take time to discuss what we are hearing and learning.

Please join us either in person or if you can’t be there, read the gospel on your own knowing that you are not alone.

And yes, I did give out certificates (although the pink did not print since I didn’t use a color printer).
Cause who doesn’t love having something simple to help celebrate the accomplishment?

McVille Bible study update

When I moved up to McVille, I was warned that there was a strong core group of people who value their weekly Bible study. The past couple months have been focused on reading our way through the book of Genesis. It is a long book (50 chapters), but it has been fascinating to take our time and read it together. We read the stories and share whatever thoughts or reflections we’ve had about the text, the locations or the history.

We are to the story of Jacob (he has just fled for his life and has ended up at his uncle Laban’s where he just met Rachel). We read about the fallout that Jacob and Esau had, and how their parents Isaac and Rebekah had picked their favorites from those twins. Taking the time to read the stories is enough to try patience at times, but is worth it. Some stories are easier to connect with than others. With the recent story of Jacob and Esau, the people who show up are unsettled to read how two brothers act around each other, but even more shocking is how the parents act. Each person reading the story finds something that fascinates or appalls.

Everyone one of us enters into the story of Genesis because we have different understandings of what life looks like, of how people ought to behave, of what we expect God to say and do. But when we read Genesis, we find that people are just people. We may want to disconnect ourselves since they lived in a very different time/place, but in reality they are much like us today. They are not perfect (far from it, as a matter of fact). We cannot shy away from the fact that we’ve read stories of murder, incest, lies and deceit. Each character in Genesis has tough lessons learned through constant mistakes. People are tested and usually fall short. But God is a God of promise who is faithful to the people he chose to create and bless.

We are taking next week off, but we will be resuming Jan 4 with Genesis 29:15. If you can’t get to McVille at 9 am, at least you know where we are in the story of a broken people who find that God is faithful.

Update on Adult Group Discussion

Hey Folks, we had a good discussion on Thursday and have chosen a new day and time for our meetings. We’ll be gathering at Trinity in Binford at 3:15 on Tuesday afternoons. We’re using The Wholeness Wheel to guide our discussions. We’re looking at spiritual wholeness, emotional wholeness, physical wholeness, intellectual wholeness, financial wholeness, social /interpersonal wholeness, vocational wholeness on an individual as well as congregational level. If our discussion last week is any indication of our weeks together then we’re in for some incredible discussions and mutual growth. All are welcome to join with us.

Here is the link for “Healthy and Whole,” the material guiding our discussions.

Bible Studies abound

In case you had not yet realized, your pastors will ALWAYS say yes to helping people read, study and love the Bible. God’s Word is amazing and changes lives for the better, so we heartily endorse encountering the stories and wisdom that have shaped people for generations.

Current examples:

– McVille Lutheran has a weekly study (Wed at 9 am) where we are currently reading through Genesis. I was warned when I took the call to be the new associate pastor that McVille loves their study. And it’s true. We have met three times to talk about the first book in the Bible (not to mention the other weeks before when we worked our way through the letters of John). We took two days to talk about Creation and this morning we talked about Cain and Abel as well as Nephilim. Next week: Noah

– Trinity of Binford requested a Bible study and Pastor Jessica leapt at the chance (it almost came to us having to rock-paper-scissors to decide, but she won without resorting to any competition). They meet tomorrow (Thursday) for the first time at 4:30. Feel free to join in this study that will go to Christmas!

Both groups are open for any and everyone…seriously, if you wish to show up for one or more sessions (or both groups, if you are adventurous), we’ll find a chair for you!