May 2024

Was the world a better place when everything was closed on Sundays and there were no sports, music or other activities?

Many in our congregation have absolutely no recollection of a time when this was the case.  For those of us who do, we probably all have different experiences of it…I was on a dairy farm where cows needed to be milked twice a day and my mom, grandma and aunts made huge meals.  The grocery store in town was open until noon so people could pick up last minute items for their Sunday meals.  Did we participate in true Sabbath rest?  I’m not so sure.  I will say that often when I find myself longing for those days, it is because people have so many conflicts that they are not able to participate in something at church or that I think is important.   That doesn’t sound like a wish for Sabbath rest but a wish for people to be busy with different things.  I think I’ll go back and read what Jesus says again. – Pastor Trudy Stoffel

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What is heresy?

Formally defined, heresy is anything contrary to orthodox teaching.  That leads to a question on what orthodox teaching is…which depends on which denominational body you are talking to.  And some may even be reluctant to use the word ‘heresy’, being more comfortable in the land of mystery.  (I’ll let you guess which one sounds more like our denomination!)  We all want to understand how God works, why things happen, and what we need to do.  The challenge is to live into these questions leaving space for mystery and movement.  Living things don’t do well in tight containers- how can we make space for our faith to thrive? – Pastor Trudy Stoffel

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 What is the origin of Pentecost?

Pentecost comes on the 50th day after Easter. Knowing Greek root words can help you to parse out the ‘pente’!  Like many Christian holidays, its roots are in another tradition, in this case, the festival of Shavuot occurred 50 days after the sheaf offering that occurred during the Passover.  Even for Jewish people the holiday had evolved to be a celebration of the giving of the law.  Now we celebrate it as the birthday of the church, but that doesn’t fully capture what it can mean to us today.  The Spirit continues to move, and we are moved by and with it.  Maybe we could go back to the idea of it being a day of offering, offering ourselves to the continued movement and work of the Holy Spirit. – Pastor Trudy Stoffel

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How do we celebrate Mothers’ Day (or Father’s Day) at church?

Neither of these holidays has any real connection to church or worship and as I get older, I encounter more and more reasons to be thoughtful about how we acknowledge these days.  I remember being told by one woman that she avoided coming to church on Mother’s Day for complicated reasons. The very good news is that we have a Gospel that can bridge the tensions and challenges we face on days like this.  This means that we will celebrate mothers and those who have provided motherly care (even if they were never mothers) AND name the pain of those who wanted to be mothers but could not AND name the sometimes conflicting feelings moms have about their own parenting AND name the challenges of those whose mothers were absent or abusive.   All of these experiences and more will be present this Sunday in worship and I am confident that the Gospel will have a message of encouragement to us, wherever we find ourselves.  – Pastor Trudy Stoffel

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