Pastor June welcomes everyone to Ebbert!

Ebbert United Methodist Church

532 C Street Springfield, OR 97477 ebbert2@comcast.net 541-746-3513

You are invited to worship and praise via zoom Sundays 10:00 am 


We continue to meet for worship via zoom.  We continue our meals via “take out”.


We currently do not hold worship in person to help protect everyone from the Coronavirus. If you would like a link to a video recording of our worship services or the zoom invite link contact Pastor June at 541-603-8706 or juneafothergill@gmail.com.  Sermon by Pastor June for July 26,2020 is below.


We have a wonderful choir.

 

Our office is open for information and to visit the church: Monday- Friday 8-11:30.


                                                                

WE LIKE TO FEED  PEOPLE

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You can also join us for our  Community Meal each Wednesday at 5-6 p.m.   This meal is now a take out meal.

Click here to learn how they are feeding more than just the hunger of the stomach: http://bit.ly/1AKZNTv

You can get involved on Wednesday Night:

          Eat a great meal

          Bring food to share

          Help serve or in the kitchen              

 

Our Meals Ministry Includes:

  • Mondays 8:30-10:30 Free Breakfast – take out

  • Tues and Thurs 8-11:15 am Sack lunches

  • Wed. 5-6 pm Community Meal- take out

  • Sat Hope House 3:00 take out

  • Sunday  10:30   cancelled for now


Sermon July 26, 2020    “ Partnering with God” by Rev. June Fothergill

Scriptures: Genesis 29: 15-30; Matthew 13: 31-33

   Rev. Hector Hanks, chaplain at Mills Hospital was on his way home one evening. Near his house, he saw a group of little boys sitting in a circle with a dog in the middle. He asked them what they were doing with the dog. Little Joey Bateson said, “We ain’t doing nuthin to the dog, we’re just tellin lies, and the one that tells the biggest one gets to keep the dog.”  The chaplain told them, “I am shocked. When I was a little boy, I would never have even thought of telling a lie.”  Right away Joey said, “Give him the dog fellas.”  (p. 67 An Encyclopedia of Humor, ed. Lowell D. Streiker) 

      Given who we are, is it possible for human beings to be in partnership with God?  On the one hand of course not, God is much greater than any of us and we can never phantom the depths of God our creator.  Yet, on the other hand it seems that God partners with persons all the time: calling Abraham and Moses, converting Paul, etc.   Yet, there is no doubt when we look at the history of humans THINKING they are partnering with God that we often get it WRONG!  Great preachers of early American history included racist ideas about blacks in their writings and preaching, theologians and Sunday School teachers justified slavery, the infamous Inquisition killed faithful persons who disagreed with it.  Those folks were so sure that they were right!  They thought they had heard it all from God.  This history makes me hesitant to claim too much about my own ideas. Yet, I notice that one of the common elements of those who I consider “got it wrong” was a lack of humility.   

    To truly partner with God, I think we need to pay attention to what God requires.   That is why Micah’s statement still resonates- Do justice. Love kindness and WALK HUMBLY with God.

      Let’s look at the stories from Jesus today.  In the first one, it is the mustard seed, one of the tiniest of all seeds that Jesus says is like the Kingdom of God.  The kingdom of God is like this tiny seed which surprisingly grows into a big tree/ bush.  Jesus sees the potential in the small, the humble, the easily discarded or disregarded.  

     And then look at the next story.  This time it is the humble, often disparaged leaven- that a woman mixes with flour- kneads-so that it spreads throughout the loaf which points to the kingdom of God. Once again, a small thing, humble human action by someone who has little power- a woman.   That is what God’s kingdom is like!  It is clear to me from Jesus stories and life that the kingdom of God, the central concern of his life- is not about power over others or in society but about small , everyday humble actions that God uses to bring growth and life.  It’s the simple, humble actions of planting seeds and making bread that can further God’s purposes on this earth- that are the kingdom of God among us.

    So, partnering with God starts with an attitude of humility- towards God and also toward ourselves- a recognition of our limited view and our mistakes but also that our worth comes from God alone.  

    Shirley Erena Murray has a song that describes the humble small ways we participate in God’s kingdom which she calls One Great Peace.

 “This thread I weave, this step I dance, this stone I carve, the ball I bounce, this nail I drive, this pearl I string, this flag I wave, this note I sing

This pot I shape, this fire I light, this fence I leap, this bone I knit, this seed I nurse, this rift I mend, this child I raise, this earth I tend,

  This check I write this march I join, this faith I state, this truth I sign, this is small part in one small place of one heart’s beat for one great Peace.”  (#2185 Faith We Sing)    

   Humility is important for the partnership with God, but also openness to surprise. The opportunities for partnership with God can be unexpected.  Jacob is this sort of unexpected partner, as we talked about last week.  He was the second son, a trickster, a fugitive, yet Surprise!   God chose him to continue the covenant promise.   I notice that in the story of Jacob that the future on the promise depends upon Jacob’s relationships with his wives and their maids.  The future of the promise depends upon children and how else do you get children but by the acts of intimate relationships between men and women?  Yet, at least one of Jacob’s wives is barren- Rachel the one he loves best.   The problem of barrenness is familiar: Sarah, Rebekah and Rachel are all barren so that their pregnancies are a surprise.    This surprise reminds everyone that it is the power of God which brings fertility.    

  Today we women chaff some at the idea that our only way of being in partnership with God is to have babies!  To say that would be to sell God and women short!   Yet, when the promise, like in Genesis is one of progeny with a purpose- a woman successfully giving birth is essential!  Surprise!  It is through the barren women that the promise will continue. Surprise! It is through the second son that the covenant will be renewed.  Surprise! It is through an ordinary family and through the simple, everyday acts of intimacy between men and women that the purpose of God to bless all the earth continues.

   This idea of a surprise of God helps us see that our partnership with God can come unexpectedly when God works through our weakness, our vulnerability, our barrenness.  Doesn’t Jesus teach us this? That it is by losing our lives for the sake of the gospel that we will find our lives?  Partnership with God is not about being right or morally judging the world but about but instead letting go, opening our hands and hearts, even bodies, to receive God’s surprises and new life.

    One of my favorite people was Ruth Chamberlin.  She was an artist and a faithful United Methodist from Klamath Falls.  I was impressed by her work with children in an after-school program she started at her church.  Only as I got to know her better did I discover the surprise of her life.  She had a drug addicted daughter in California with children who needed her love and care. But that was not to be because of the barriers of bureaucracies.  It was through this vulnerable, hurting place that God- surprise! helped her find her vocation as an artist and care giver of children.   She couldn’t help her own grandkids, but she could help those across the street.

   Finally, I notice that partnership with God is about humility, surprise and also work.  We are invited to be humble, to be open to the surprising ways God works through us but also to act. The story of the woman kneading the dough led me to this understanding.  Have you ever kneaded bread dough?  It takes elbow grease!  Partnership with God is not about passivity or apathy but doing what God has put in front of us to do.   Whether it is kneading the dough so the leaven can grow, or planting the tiny seeds or like Jacob, taking a wife or two.   Micah gives us guidance for kinds of actions which could be in partnership with God.  Do justice and loving kindness!  

     I think of the mothers up in Portland who are using humor and their own bodies to try to defuse the increasingly volatile situation.   In fact, some of those mothers are some of my UMC clergy sisters.   I think of people all around the world who are putting on a mask and working for the sake of other’s health and wellbeing.   I think of the tiny pantries and new food banks that are springing up around town to make sure everyone has food in a difficult time.  I give thanks for our meals volunteers who keep the food flowing from our church’s heart.  To act for the welfare of others and our world, to love as Christ loved- self giving love. That is being in partnership with God.  It’s not about being right, having the biggest church or the largest budget, or having in power in this world, but about acting with love for all.  That is where the story is going, even the Jacob story, for as we will see reconciliation with his brother and a son who will save his family are coming up.  It is especially true of the Jesus story.  And I hope and pray it will be the church’s story.     

     So, I guess you may have guessed by now that I believe that human beings can partner with God.  We can do so when we walk humbly, when we are open to surprises in how God will use us for God’s purposes and when we keep our actions focused upon love for others.   



The mission of  Ebbert United Methodist Church is to invite people to become disciples of Jesus Christ through welcoming, worshiping, nurturing and sending.


If you’d like more information about us you can call 541-746-3513 or Pastor June at 541-603-8706 or email us at ebbert2@comcast.net.  We are glad you came by to see us today.


The church building has space available for non-profit groups for offices or meeting spaces.  Contact the church office at 541-746-3513 or email ebbert2@comcast.net, if interested.         


Our Monday Breakfast and Sack Lunch programs are helped by  Food for Lane County.   This meals are open to all people.   In accordance with Federal law and U. S. Department of Agriculture policy, this institution is prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race color, national origin, sex, age or disability.  To file a complaint of discrimination write USDA Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Ave. SW, Washington DC 20250-9410 or call (800) 795-3272. USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.