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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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Pentecost 2016

May 15, 2016 Acts 2: 1-21  Pentecost  “ Come Holy Spirit” by  Rev. June Fothergill   How many of you have ever wondered if you might be a wee bit resistant to the Holy Spirit?   I know I have.  I remember when I was in High School; a dear friend of mine sent me a letter telling me the steps to “receiving the Holy Spirit” which for this friend meant speaking in tongues.   I was curious and decided to try the steps.  I went out by myself somewhere and read and prayed through the steps she had sent me.  Nothing.   Nothing happened.   Disappointed I decided the gift of the Holy Spirit was not for me.   Later in college I was still struggling with this and a local pastor who held a college age group meeting at his home suggested that the coming of the Holy Spirit didn’t have to be with tongues.   It could come as an unexpected insight or idea.  Aha!  That I had experienced, thinking of the nights I would go out walking around campus taking a break from a difficult paper and how sometimes on those walks a new insight would come.    I find that understanding the Holy Spirit is a lifelong under taking! For example, this week many of us are praying that our General Conference will be guided by the Holy Spirit.   Can the Spirit get through all the set agendas, the parliamentary procedures, the limited time frame, the differences of perspective and opinion?  Of course.     Yet, I have my own ideas of what I think the guidance of the Spirit is and they might differ from yours.   Hum, that is confusing.  Shouldn’t the Spirit be leading good hearted, willing disciples in the same direction? As I look at the story in Acts today, I found myself noticing the responses of those people of Jerusalem to the work of the Holy Spirit.  This amazing thing happens.  The Galilean disciples are given the gift of speaking in other languages and the diversity of Jews from all over the globe hears of the “might acts of God’ in their own heart home language.  They are amazed and perplexed that a group of Galilean hicks could do this!   And some of them decided that this was purely a human phenomenon- they must be drunk on new wine they scoffed.  I notice some things. 1.  The Spirit did not come in a monolithic way.  Rather it took a monolithic group- a bunch of Galileans and gave them different languages to speak.  The diversity allowed for more people to hear the good news of God’s mighty acts and participate in the work of the...

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Helping at Brattain Early Learning Center

We gave away produce from local farmers and read to the...

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Imagine! No more Malaria

Thanks to everyone who helped with our annual sale. This year we had help from the Washburne Neighborhood Association!  We had church that day right there on the yard and helped the children in Africa by raising over  $700.

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Mother’s Day sermon 2015

Sermon   May 10, 2015  by Rev. June Fothergill Scripture:  John 15: 9-17 As I was boarding an airplane recently  I over heard a Mom say to her little 7 year old daughter .  “ I was worried about you.”   “ Oh Mom” said the girl as she jauntily walked up the ramp to the plane, “ Why do you worry about me?”   The Mom shrugged,  “ I guess It’s just something we moms do.” I try not to be a worrier but on our trip there was a moment when I worried about one of my sons because I hadn’t heard from him.  My imagination started to think of all the possible things that could happen to him that would leave him unable to communicate.  Of course soon we did get an email reply and I felt much better.   I can’t imagine how my parents did it when I traveled in college before email and facebook and such.  They had to wait for those letters to come across the ocean.   I didn’t realize how much they worried until years later.    Worrying about our children or at some point in time the reverse, worrying about our aging parents seems a normal part of loving our families.   It’s just what we do. Now some anxiety is normal, such as a little flurry of worry when someone doesn’t connect like we expected.    But too much worry can create unhealthy stress in our lives.  Too much fear can be debilitating.    When we think about parenting or loving our family it’s healthy to find a balance between being overly protective and restricting because of our fears or worries and being too lenient and even neglectful because of our  apathy or feeling overwhelmed.  How do we find the healthy balance  which is loving and realistic?  How do learn to love in a way that can bring joy , peace and hope to our lives and the lives of those around us? Certainly these questions are part of  the setting of the words of Jesus we read in John’s gospel this morning.  This is Jesus last word to his disciples before he dies.  He  and they know that he is heading into dangerous territory.  He is trying to prepare them for the stressful time of his death.  He wants to give them all the resources he can for the difficult time ahead.  John is also writing for later disciples who also faced stressful times of persecution and struggle. So, the context of this passage is one of high anxiety and even worry. Jesus tells his disciples to keep their focus on one important thing-  Abide in my love!  I love that...

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Easter Sermons

Sermon  April 5, 2015   Easter Sunrise  Mark 16: 1-8      Will We Live in Terror or in Life Giving Witness? Or  What does Easter Mean for Us?  By June Fothergill I understand the terror of the women.  Who wouldn’t be frightened at such strange and mysterious goings on?  We understand that feeling- when we get the call in the night and something terrible has happen to someone we love.  When we walk into the darkness and a not sure where to go. When we are asked to do something new that we are afraid we are ill equipped to do.  Julia Esquivel has a poem called “ Threatened with Resurrection”.   I have often wondered about  the title.  Can Resurrection be threatening?  Certainly, for it meant nothing would ever be the same again for those women,  and for us? Like the women in Mark’s story, I don’t understand the mystery of the empty tomb and the resurrection.  I don’t understand it in the same way I understand when I see seeds that I plant in the earth grow into plants  Or that  measurements show the atmosphere of our planet is getting warmer.  Yet,  I trust the reports of my ancestors in faith that somehow, they experienced Jesus till among them.   Although the women left in fear and didn’t tell anyone, somehow Mark’s gospel was written. Someone let go of their fear, found their courage and told the story.  I  wonder, in my own life, how do I let fear keep me from the witness to life and love God has given me? I don’t understand the mystery of the empty tomb and the resurrection but I do know in my heart that Jesus is not dead.  His Spirit of love and compassion, of justice and peacemaking, of gracious forgiveness and healing is still with us.   I have never seen him as a bodily vision but I have experienced his word, his warmth, his forgiveness, his healing, his guidance in my life.    I trust and know that his is a living Savior. I decided once to become a Hindu because I was curious about the inner sanctum of a famous Hindu temple in Madurai India.  They said that I had to be a Hindu to enter and so I asked what I needed to do to become a Hindu. It was  extremely easy. So I became a Hindu  and entered the temple with my offering basket.  Later on as I reflected upon that experience I realized that I was not  Hindu.  The ritual I had performed meant nothing to me.  I remembered then my baptism. I remembered Jesus and what he meant to me.  I...

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