News for the Church, 6/10/22

Good Day to You Church!

Today I’m sitting out on my back porch as the sun peaks in and out from the clouds and the leaves of the forest rustle in the breeze. My bleeding hearts are nearing the end of their bloom and the yellow iris are in full display. What do you have singing in color at your house right now? 

Here’s the news for the week: 

Univited— the Movie– Showing Saturday Night

If you’d like to learn more about how to control Japanese knot weed, wild parsnip, spongy moths, and other invasive species, this is the movie for you! We’ll be viewing it at 7 pm in the Center. 

Then, Sunday at around 11:15 am, following the service, folks from the Nature Conservancy will be here to take us on a guided tour of other invasive species we have on the church grounds. They will talk to us about replacement options and how to manage invasives more effectively.

March for Our Lives

Also on Saturday– a rally in Ives Park against gun violence will begin at noon. North Country This Week ran an article about this event on Thursday, misrepresenting it as an anti-gun event, but that is not the case. To clarify, this is an anti-gun violence rally. (I know that some of you were looking for clarification on that.) 

Book Group’s Final Gathering, June 14th

Those folks who have been reading Shalom and the Community of Creation will gather for a final book talk and dinner Tuesday, June 14th at Jane Wells house at 6pm. 

Rummage Sale on June 18th

Starting next Wednesday, June 15th, you are invited to bring gently used items to sell in our upcoming rummage sale. Clothes, toys, books, household items, furniture, and jewelry will be accepted. Please do not donate electronics, however. 

Beth Grace is looking for volunteers on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday to help organize and set up. Please get in touch with her if you’d like to help! 

The sale itself will be Saturday from 8:30 am-3:30 pm. 

Juneteenth Celebration, June 18th

This year’s Juneteenth celebration will be held on Saturday, June 18th from 4-9 pm in Ives Park. Delicious (free) food, dancing, speeches, singing, and a Black is Beautiful fashion show are some of the offerings on tap for this day, which commemorates when Black Americans were freed from enslavement in America. Come learn some history you didn’t know, revel in Black culture, and celebrate! 

Community Supper on June 23rd

Our monthly get-together with the Episcopaleans to prepare a take-out meal will be happening this month on Thursday, June 23rd. If you’d like to volunteer, please give Sharon Pickard a call. 

The dinner is served from 5-6 pm– this month at the Episcopal Church. 

Taking a Break from Monthly Lunches

After a low turnout for the men’s and women’s lunches last month, Sharon and Bob Pickard have decided to hit the pause button on these get-togethers for the summer months. Too many of us are off doing summer things. But! They will be back again in the fall. 

Special Offering for Buffalo

In the wake of the most recent shootings, and as a way to honor Pentecost, Session is inviting people to contribute to a special offering that will be taken on June 26th. This offering will be sent to the Mt. Olive Baptist Church in Buffalo as a sign of care and support of the Black community there, as they grieve the racially-motivated killing that occurred in their city last month. Mt. Olive does a lot of outreach into the community and we believe that the money we send will be put to good use fighting racism and upholding their community. 

Violence in America

Friends, it’s been a tough few weeks in our country, and all across America our hearts are aching. If you’re anything like me, you might also be feeling dismayed over our collective inability to find a way forward– to find a way to reduce gun violence while still honoring the 2nd Amendment. As a nation we do not agree on how to do this, and resentment and anger mounts on both sides. 

I don’t see any way out of this political battle in the near future. The two “sides” hold opposing strategies for how to approach the problem and we are stuck in gridlock. There does not appear to be a way forward. What I do wonder about, however, is if there might be a way sideways, that might eventually lead to a way forward. 

Clearly, attempts at man-handling each other does not work. No one wins when we live at war with each other. So what if we try Jesus’ way instead?

My brother (who is a card-carrying member of the NRA, and strongly believes in full-fledged gun rights) and I (who am not and do not) have talked about this issue a number of times over the last couple of years, and I’ve come to realize that, while we seek different solutions to the problem of gun violence, we both start from the same place: we both fear violence and feel deep-seated concern for the safety of our families. 

Friends, I know the feeling is strong to want to demonize people who hold differing opinions– especially when it comes to issues of life and death. But Jesus calls us to recognize and see the humanity in people whom we would deem our enemies. This does not mean that we let go of our own position, but it does mean that we seek to know them as people, rather than as objects of disgust. 

I don’t have any answers today for the problem that lies before us. Only questions and curious wonderings. And prayer…. prayer for those who grieve the loss of loved ones, those who live in fear of gun violence, those whom I have a tendency to consider my “enemy,” and for myself. 

God of both justice and mercy, hear our cry for peace in our land! And help us, we pray! We are at a loss to save ourselves from our own madness. 

Looking to God,
Pastor Katrina