Over the past several months, I’ve tried to share with you the wisdom and knowledge of public health officers, epidemiologists, religious leaders, and medical professionals who are helping us modify our perspectives and actions during the COVID-19 pandemic and will continue to do so. Over the coming weeks, I’m also going to do the same with those who have similar wisdom and knowledge related to racism. Many of these voices will come from within our conference and denomination and some will come from our wider community. This first piece is from Pastor Jermell Witherspoon, pastor of Liberation UCC and Everett UCC and a member of the Pacific Northwest Conference Board. With hope,Mike “We are in mourning. The earth is in mourning. The trees are … Continue reading THIS IS THE STATEMENT

A prayer for peace…

Dear God: This morning, I pray for peace. Again. Almost every time I do, I remember these benedicting words from Philippians: “And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” On the hardest days, I come back to these words as a plea or as grace or as comfort …or, somedays, a pray these words as an excuse; as though peace is truly beyond understanding, is truly beyond human implementation so  I shrug my shoulders and surrender to not understanding. I surrender to no effort. Dear God, this morning, help … Continue reading A prayer for peace…

Pentecost, 2020

Dear God: I’ve been imagining Pentecost… (Luke and Acts) The disciples were trying to get their movement back on track.  A few days before, Jesus had led a march into Jerusalem; to the Temple, to be exact. Gathered outside were folks selling this and that for use in the temple and they were selling it for way too much. Poor folks couldn’t afford it. So, with Jesus at the lead, the marchers chased out the vendors and, some say, turned their tables over. As the news got around I imagine that some called it a rebellion and some called it … Continue reading Pentecost, 2020

5-27-2020 COVID-19 PNC Update

Dear Siblings in Christ: Take a deep breath. Let it out slowly. Take another deep breath. Let that one out slowly, too. Pentecost was not planned. The disciples were gathered in a room – isolated and afraid – when something strange and beautiful happened. Holy Love and Wisdom were discernible in flame and in speech. Maybe it was the birthday of the Church or maybe it was when a religious moment gave birth to a religious movement. Maybe it was the moment when those who followed Christ became the Body of Christ. Something strange and beautiful happened that was so … Continue reading 5-27-2020 COVID-19 PNC Update

5-21-2020 PNC COVID-19 Update

Dear Siblings in Christ: Just a little bit ago, my phone started buzzing with news and questions about the President directing the Center for Disease Control and Prevention to declare “houses of worship, churches, synagogues and mosques” as “essential places that provide essential services” and commanding governors to reopen places of worship. Someday, it will be great to talk about whether or not any US governmental body has the legal authority to tell a religious body what we can or can not do and under what conditions. Even though that might seem like the most important conversation to have today … Continue reading 5-21-2020 PNC COVID-19 Update

An update and a prayer

Take a deep breath, then let it out slowly. Take another deep breath and let that one out slowly, too. Many of you have probably heard by now that, last Sunday, several churches across the US had their worship interrupted by a coordinated effort of some who tried to project awful images to people. At this point, the reasons for this are not clear. A few weeks ago, we sent out information about Zoombombing and encouraged you to take some steps to help prevent it (you can find a more recent and concise outline of some steps to take here). … Continue reading An update and a prayer

A Prayer for Our Weariness

Dear God: Bless all ​of us​ who are weary: – Those who are weary of another day without family and friends in their home… – Those who are weary of wearing a mask on beautiful days… – Those who are weary of washing their hands… – Those who are weary of another meeting or worship service or pastoral visit on the phone or computer screen… – Those who are weary of the anxiety that comes with going to the grocery store… – Those who are weary of the pace of bad news and conflicting information… – Those who are weary as … Continue reading A Prayer for Our Weariness

05-06-2020 COVID-19 PNC Update

Dear Siblings in Christ: You’re all amazing. Let me say that right up front. The ways you’ve all been living into this moment in your homes, churches, work lives, and personal lives have not been easy but you’re pulling it off. The days to come are going to be a challenge, too, but the fact we’ve done this well this long speaks to the faith, creativity, and support we’ll be able to draw on to make it through. The actions you’ve already taken have saved lives. I know these days are not easy ones and I’m missing sharing in-person worship … Continue reading 05-06-2020 COVID-19 PNC Update

05-4-2020 COVID-19 PNC Update

Dear Siblings in Christ: I’ve just finished reading this week’s lectionary reading from John and am drawn towards 14:15.“If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” The gift and challenge of this pandemic season is that, sometimes, it’s like a mirror I’m staring into. I’m not talking about a quick glance to see if everything’s in place. I’m talking about looking at every wrinkle or spot. I’m talking about noticing the differences between the memory of my face and the face that’s in front of me and what that face says about me. It’s that observation of the room … Continue reading 05-4-2020 COVID-19 PNC Update

04-29-2020 COVID-19 PNC Update

Dear Siblings in Christ: The reading from Psalm 23 always brings me back to the basement of Church of the Cross United Methodist Church in Cleveland Heights, Ohio. My Dad was the pastor there and the Sunday School teacher was, for some reason I don’t remember, trying to help me memorize this verse. Almost all the time the church used the Revised Standard Version translation of the Bible but, for this, the King James Bible was pulled out and I remember feeling a bit annoyed. It didn’t really make sense to me with the weird “eth” sounds at the end … Continue reading 04-29-2020 COVID-19 PNC Update