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Pentecost Sermon

Pentecost Sermon  June 4, 2017  “ Spirit Sightings” by Rev. June Fothergill Acts 2: 1-20 Several years ago when I was serving Myrtle Creek and Canyonville churches, I decided to take some personal leave time and go to Mexico to study Spanish.  It was on my bucket list to study Spanish in a place where it was spoken.   It was a wonderful trip.   The only problem was that I would miss my church’s Vacation Bible School that year.  Working with children was a highlight of my ministry during those years in Douglas County.    I went to Cueravaca, Mexico for my immersion experience, a city of about 1 million people.  One Sunday I decided to try to find the little Methodist Church in the town.  I walked all over until I finally found it.   As I searched I thought about how right now that week, my church back home would be getting ready to hold the VBS.   As I walked in the door of the church in Mexico the first thing I saw was a display about VBS- it was the same program we were doing in Myrtle Creek, except in Spanish!     In that moment I felt the work of the Holy Spirit connecting these two communities in my life.    I had a great time telling them about the connection and spent some time with that little community in prayer and visiting their mission work.  The language, the nation didn’t matter- we were together in Christ.  For me this is a  Spirit Sighting.   Do you have any Spirit sightings you’d like to briefly share? ( Time for congregation to share. ) You see, over thirty years ago, Jim and I took a class together at Portland State.  It was called Intercultural Communication.   After learning about all the barriers and complexity of communication across different cultures, I remember commenting to Jim,  “  It will take the Holy  Spirit can make it happen”      Only the work of the  Holy Spirit can overcome the barriers and divergent understandings that  people from differing cultures  assume.  Only the Holy Spirit can bring us together in mutual human understanding.    I still think  that this is one of the ways the Holy Spirit works among us.  I have seen it. I trust it.  I hope for it. I remember a women’s group meeting in Wilder.  It was the UMW’s annual tea and we had intentionally invited women from the new Hispanic United Methodist church at Wilder to come.  And some of them did.  The program for that day was to share stories about our mothers.  As I listened to the stories from the UMW women,  I noticed that many of them had...

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Easter Beyond the Bunnies

We had a great Family Event April 8th  2017.   We had about 15 children and 15 adults.  The Puppet Show was OK but the crafts and parachute game were hits.  Thanks to everyone for coming and for helping!  We hope to have more such events in the future....

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Sermons January 2017

Welcome to the sermons from January 1- January 15, 2017  Enjoy! Sermon  January 1, 2017 John 1: 1-18; Galatians 4: 4-7  “ Being An Heir of Christ in this New Year”  by Rev. June Fothergill “We are no longer slaves, but children of God and therefore heirs.” – Paul in Galatians The attorney gathered the entire family for the reading of the will. Relatives came from near and far to see if they were included in the bequests. The lawyer somberly opened the will and began to read: To my cousin Ed, I leave my ranch. To my brother Jim, I leave my money market accounts. To my neighbor and good friend Fred, I leave my stocks. And finally to my cousin George who always sat around and never did anything but wanted to be remembered in my will I say, “ Hi George.”  ( p. 143 The Encyclopedia of Humor) This past week I spent time with my mother in her 80’s  and my mother in law in her 90’s. It’s good to spend time with them, to care for them, and to receive from them the wisdom and stories they had to share.    I think about what it means to be an heir.  In both cases it is less important what physical inheritance I might receive from them than the ethical inheritance. What are the values and ways of living that they hand down to me,  that I want to emulate and pass down to my children and others?  What did they inherit that they want to pass down to me and my family?  How do we help this sharing of stories and values happen?  How do we value each other in such a way that the stories get told and the values get shared?   These are the questions that concern me not just for my own family but for our churches and even our world.   What does it mean to be an heir. I think about all this also because of the reading from the letter of Paul to the Galatians we read this week.  Especially, “ We are no longer slaves but children of God and therefore heirs.” What does Paul mean and what does it mean for us today? Paul writes first of all that “ We are not longer slaves.”  This is crucial for his argument to the Galatians.  He is upset because some people have been teaching that in order to be right with God one needs first to be circumcised and adhere to other practices of the Jewish laws. To Paul this is a big mistake!    He doesn’t want them to get hung up on things...

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Sermon Oct. 2, 2016 The Mustard Seed

Luke 17: 1-10  “ The Mustard Seed” by Rev. June Fothergill I have always loved World Communion Sunday and not just because I get to share my international doll collection!   I love the picture of the diverse and varied people of the world gathering today around the communion table of Christ.   My relationship with Christ Jesus has given me a vision of a world where differences of culture and language are celebrated because our oneness comes from our common worth.  Jesus didn’t teach that we all have to be the same but that we are invited to form a community of grace that is inclusive of the diversity of our human family.  He showed us this by living, eating with and teaching those who others had outcast.   As followers of this Jesus we are always figuring out how to live together lovingly in the midst of our diversity.   I think that in the passage we read today,  Jesus is inviting us to form an alternative community, a way of living together based upon grace- a flow of truth telling, repentance and forgiveness. First of all Jesus said straight up- “Occasions for stumbling are bound to come.”    Now Jesus doesn’t say we will stumble!  But we all know the truth. We do stumble in our lives.   There are times when we say the thing we wish we hadn’t, when we neglect to love, when we respond in greed or selfishness, when we let our fear rule or our prejudices judge.   We all stumble sometimes. Yet interesting to me is that Jesus doesn’t seem too worried about our individual stumbles in this passage.  Rather he quickly goes on to show great concern for the possibility of us causing others to stumble!    This passage is not so much about our individual morality but the kind of community Jesus wants us to build together.  Make sure you don’t cause others, especially the vulnerable to stumble!  Jesus is warning us that our choices impact not just ourselves but our community.  What do the youth and children learn from us by our actions and words?  What does the unbelieving world think of the church?  Have we caused people to stumble, to turn away from faith and Christ? I remember the conversation I had with a young man in Canyonville about why he no longer attended a church.  He had experienced the community of church as a place of power plays and hurt feelings.   He wasn’t too sure he wanted to try it again.  It made me sad.  Did someone need a millstone?    I am sure that Jesus does not mean for us to go out and find some millstones.  No,...

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Vision for our Church from Pastor June

Sermon: Casting a Vision by Rev. June Fothergill   September 11, 2016 Scriptures:  Proverbs 29: 18 (KJV) Acts 2: 17 Well, I was looking for jokes about vision to start this sermon and discovered several ways to have vision. In one a man is trying to get ideas for how to grow their Sunday School Class by using an old fashioned easel and paper for all the great ideas people will come up with. What did they come up with?  Coffee, More Coffee and Better Coffee! And then there’s Charlie Brown’s little sister Lucy who hears a snippet on the TV which is actually about  a man’s golf game but she hears it  differently.  “There’s no tomorrow” OH no!  She thinks. “There’s no tomorrow?  “She rushes out the door yelling her vision of the non future to all her friends, “They just announce on TV that there’s no tomorrow!  Panic, panic Run Hide Flee, Run for the ills, Flee to the valleys Run to the Roof tops. “She and Linus and Snoopy end up on top his dog house in great dismay. Then, there’s my favorite one about a personal vision.  During a party the older bachelor gathered up sufficient courage to discuss marriage with his girlfriend.  “Here comes a time when one longs for the companionship of another being,” He said. “ A being who will regard one as perfect, as an idol ; who will be kind and faithful when times are hard; who will share one’s life and sorrows.” His girlfriend looked at him excitedly, “Oh, let me help you choose a pet dog.” So, sharing visions can be rather tricky!  Yet as the wise writer of Proverbs observed without a vision the people perish. Without a sense that we have a future, that we can trust God for our future, we get discouraged and apathetic.   My hope is that a shared vision can give us common purpose and direction. Yet, I know that vision is not just something I can invent.  It is a gift of God to the community.   So today I humbly, share with you some of my sense of vision for our congregation. Ecclesiastes 11:1 in the King James Version says, “Cast your bread upon the waters…”   That’s what I‘m doing this morning with my vision for Ebbert. I want to share with you my picture of what we can become.  I’m casting it out to you expecting it to reverberate around so you can add your own ideas and reactions, arguments and questions. And then as Ecclesiastes promises, it will come back to us all, strengthened by our shared wisdom and discernment. I think that we at...

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Native American Ministries Sunday Sermon

Sermon July 31, 2016       Carol’s Story  by Rev. June Fothergill  1 Corinthians 12: 12-26 In the letter to the Corinthian church Paul tells them to rejoice together and suffer together because they are the one body of Christ.  Yet in our world today there are so many ways we’re divided and conflicted there is a temptation to just run to a homogeneous bubble and live there surrounded by people who seem like us.  But the relationship with Jesus the Christ leads us down a very different path, as Paul discovered. In Paul’s day the city of Corinth was a Roman colony made up of people from all over the Mediterranean. A church from there, founded by Paul had great diversity: Jews and gentiles- differences in culture; slave and fee- differences in social economics; male and female, difference in status. NO wonder the church in Corinth had its share of conflicts. Yet, Paul gives them a way to think about their life together.  You are members of the One Body in Christ, he tells them.   Just like the human body has hands and feet, eyes and ears, etc, you too are made up of a diversity of persons. Yet, you all matter and you are all connected.  You need each other to be whole. If one suffers – all suffer. If one rejoices- all rejoice. I chose this scripture for today for Native American Ministry Sunday because I think such ministries are about acknowledging and nurturing our connections with each other- people descended from the native peoples of this land and those of us who came as immigrants.  Through Christ’s love for us all we need each other; we suffer together and we rejoice together My friendship with Carol exemplifies this truth for me.  When I first met Carol she was then named Carol Colley. She was an influential Native American lay leader of our Annual Conference.  IN fact one year she was elected the head of our delegation to General Conference, a great honor.  AS a young pastor interested in racial justice issues, she and I worked together on what was then the Board of Church and Society.   We helped organize a Consultation on White Racism at Wallowa Lake Camp, put together the first Native American Council, a worked to recruit racial ethnic person to the various leadership positions of the Annual Conference.  She was a joy to work with, capable of leadership and yet a team player. I was her when our Board met a couple times a year. I also began to intentionally arrange to have a meal with her at every Annual Conference.    In this way we built our relationship over...

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