Summer is often a time to do church differently. I have wonderful memories of Communion in the pine forest, at church camp. I love church at the beach, also known as "Mass on the Grass." It's good to sometimes shake up our preconceived notions and expectations of what constitutes church.
Now at Reconciler, you might say we're always doing church differently. Every week a different pastor celebrates communion according to his or her denomination's tradition. There's always something new at Reconciler. It's not like we have to strive for innovation.
Yet even for Reconciler, we're doing things a bit differently this summer. Instead of a traditional Bible Study, we're reading the book of James and watching theological films over potluck. We're taking part in neighborhood festivals and letting people know about our uniquely wonderful funky upstart of a church. We're working with Immanuel and St. Elias Lutheran Churches to increasingly become one "Campus of Discipleship." Larry, Daniel, and Jeremy attended the Jubilee Conference. Tripp attended the Baptist Church's Biennial in D.C. Charity came back from her conference in Spain, having listened to families of the "disappeared" in Latin America. This summer I've had the opportunity to preach and/or preside at several churches other than Reconciler, and will do a Baptism at Immanuel Lutheran Church in August. It's important to explore how other congregations do church, and how others are trying to live out the Christian life.
Last Sunday I had the good fortune to preside at Immanuel. Bob Lesher was the preacher. Bob works at Uptown Ministry, a ministry to and with the homeless and disenfranchised in the Uptown neighborhood of Chicago. In his sermon, he encouraged us, as Church, to be less like our society as a whole. To view the poor not simply as recipients of our charity (at best), but listen to them respectfully, draw out their stories, and in the process receive as much as we give. To be among and with the poor, and do what the early church did as described in Luke-Acts. Early Christians formed communities in which the wealthy sold property and goods to be on an equal par with their less well-off brothers and sisters. These Christian communities "turned the world upside down." Bob left us with this challenge: What are we doing in church these days to help turn the world upside down?
Some folks at Immanuel Lutheran Church are active in Uptown Ministry. We too are invited to join Bob and the people of Uptown Ministry at their morning worship services, Friday 9:30 a.m. and Sundays 11:00 a.m., and to learn more about their varied ministries. That might be one way for some of us to do church differently.
Uptown Ministry's mission statement: "Through steadfast love and honesty, it is the Ministry's mission to build community between people from all walks of life to bring about self sufficiency, hope, and justice."
See their website for more information.
Bob's sermon challenged me to think: "How might I/we do church differently? And how can we, as a Christian community, make a difference in the world at our doorstep and beyond?"
Blessings and peace,
The Rev. Laura Gottardi-Littell
for The Pastoral Team
The Church of Jesus Christ, Reconciler
Pastoral Care - The Pastoral Team will be divvying up pastoral care duties. Each pastor will be "on" for a month at a time. Laura is available to handle any and all pastoral care needs at Reconciler for the month of July.
Denominational News– The American Baptist Churches had their Biennial last weekend, and Tripp was in attendance. If you have any questions about the Biennial, talk with Tripp. June 21-23, the Evangelical Covenant Church had its Annual Meeting. At the Annual Meeting a paper on Human Sexuality was presented by the Board of Ordered ministry affirming and giving the theological grounding for the 1996 Annual Meeting Resolution on Human Sexuality. If you have questions about the Annual meeting or the 1996 resolution on Human Sexuality or the Boards report talk with Larry. Copies of the report can be made available to those who are interested.
Celebrate Clark Street Festival July 14 & 15: This weekend, folks! We still need people to sign up to staff the booth. A good time is sure to be had by those present. Chrissy will be letting us know where to meet. Brochures/fliers will be available to hand out.
Also we will be at the Glenwood Arts Festival August 25 and 26th. The focus will be on art from our artists in the congregation . Talk with Chrissy and Larry about displaying your art at the festival.
Council Meeting: July 19th, 7:30 p.m, at the 'Nidge.
Potluck Supper and Reading of the book of James at Charity and Jeremy’s house July 27th at 7:30 PM. RSVP to Jeremy. Also invite your friends who might not come to our worship.
Potlucks and Movie nights...'Nidge North (Tripp and Trish's house...TBA.
Shared Worship with Immanuel Lutheran Church - Sunday morning 10:30 August 5. No worship service at Reconciler that evening. Come worship with us Sunday morning, as we seek to deepen our connection to the Immanuel and St. Elias congregations, on our common "Campus of Discipleship."
Change in Worship Time....The church council is considering a change in our worship time to 5:00 p.m. starting September 9th. The hope is that this change, along with providing childcare, will make our congregation more welcoming for families with young children. The council would like feedback from the congregation on this proposed change.