Monday, May 31, 2010
Sunday, May 30, 2010
Saturday, May 29, 2010
Friday, May 28, 2010
Thursday, May 27, 2010
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
This doesn't surprise me for several reasons. Not all residences are created equal and some of them are environments which would certainly amplify sadness and depression. Even those facilities which are well-run and with caring staff can be grim, just because of the constant reminder of physical and mental fraility and death.
My mother lives in a beautiful residence (not a nursing home) which is essentially independent living, and she has a lovely apartment. She gathers with other residents for meals but she has total freedom to come and go. There are many activities, including the chapel services which she coordinates. Still, when there are several deaths in a short period of time it takes an emotional toll.
What an important reminder that congregations can provide spiritual support for those living in seniors' facilities. We have a wonderful cadre of people at St. Paul's who visit those who are in residences and our UCW reaches out several times a year. Cathy and I also visit in the roughly ten facilities in which our folk live.
Some of you have loved ones in seniors' facilities. Any thoughts on this issue of depression? How about the role of the church in providing support.
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
I am finding that this thirtieth anniversary is more signficant than the twenty fifth. Perhaps it's because so many colleagues enter ministry as a second career and they will never make it to thirty years, making me something of an anomaly. Or it could be that in some professions and jobs individuals can retire after thirty years of service, let alone forty. Or maybe it is because during my restorative leave I pondered packing in ministry, but I'm still chugging along.
Apparently God isn't done with me yet and I'm still keeping my ears open for that call, although it sounds a little different now that I am a grizzled veteran rather than a young recruit. In the end my ministry was and is an outcome of my faith in Christ.
Monday, May 24, 2010
Sunday, May 23, 2010
Saturday, May 22, 2010
Friday, May 21, 2010
Thursday, May 20, 2010
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
Sunday, May 16, 2010
Saturday, May 15, 2010
Friday, May 14, 2010
The Trappist monk Thomas Merton offered years ago that ”The duty of the Christian at this time is to do the one task God has imposed upon us in this world today. The task is to work for the total abolition of war. There can be no question that unless war is abolished; the world will remain constantly in a state of madness. The church [meaning all Christians] must lead the way on the road to the abolition of war. Peace is to be preached and nonviolence is to be explained and practiced.”
Is there much point in holding prayer services for the end of weapons of mass destruction? Does it sound naiive or hopeful to you?
Thursday, May 13, 2010
"The greatest persecution of the church doesn't come from enemies on the outside but is born from the sins within the church," the pontiff said. "The church needs to profoundly relearn penitence, accept purification, learn forgiveness but also justice."
The comments marked Benedict's most thorough admission of the church's own guilt in creating the scandal. Previously he has blamed abusers themselves and, in the case of Ireland, the bishops who failed to stop them.
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
Hi siblings and St. Pauls' bloggers,
Christopher and his school group were able to leave Amsterdam today, but had a 2 hour delay on the tarmac awaiting clearance to fly a long northern detour over Greenland and Nunavut to get to Chicago. As their plane landed 3 hours late, their connecting flight to Toronto was taking off. So they're spending the night in Chicago and won't be flying out until Monday evening.
I'm relieved to have him back in North America at least. Their flight attendant told them that Monday's flight out of Amsterdam was being cancelled. Not that the kids would mind, but I'm sure the teachers have shared enough love already with this group of 43 teens!
David, in comment on last Friday's blog about air travel guilt, it strikes me as ironic that now MORE fuel is being used to detour the transatlantic flights, and it's being discharged over the Arctic. Makes me wonder how it will balance out in the end.
Have a good week everyone, and thanks for keeping our young sojourner Christopher in your thoughts, Deb.
Monday, May 10, 2010
Sunday, May 09, 2010
Saturday, May 08, 2010
Friday, May 07, 2010
Thursday, May 06, 2010
Wednesday, May 05, 2010
Tuesday, May 04, 2010
Monday, May 03, 2010
Sunday, May 02, 2010
People often comment that we must be proud to have a son pursuing ministry. I have mixed feelings, even though Isaac will represent the third generation of United Church ministers in our family and fourth of those in "paid accountable ministry." My grandparents on both sides were Salvation Army officers.
Why mixed feelings? For all its strengths the United Church is one sick puppy. So many congregations are struggling for survival and I sense that our leadership is at a loss as to how to proceed. That doesn't mean they aren't trying, but how do you redirect a nation-wide organization toward health when it is so unwell? My own feeling is that we haven't paid attention to the core value of relationship with a living, active Christ which then informs our social action, but the problems are quite complex.
I see that the relatively few younger ministers are struggling to bring vitality to tired congregations and the road is difficult for them. If Isaac is ordained next year, as planned, he will be a member of a rare breed -- a UCC minister in his twenties. Still, Isaac has his eyes wide open on these realities and feels a strong sense of call, nonetheless. So who am I to do anything but support that conviction?
Are you wondering which direction we are going as a denomination? Are you encouraged that there are younger candidates for ministry?