We Celebrate

  As we celebrate the goodness of our nation and the freedom of life in the United Stated, I am led also to celebrate the church, the Presbytery and the faith that joins us together.  I am celebrating... 

  • Our congregations who in every place want to serve the world both around them and beyond them and continue to be lights of caring and grace.
  • Our ministers who are creative, energized, hopeful and ready to serve.
  • Our Presbytery leaders who in a time of change embrace the possibilities of the future and meet the challenges of the present fully and joyfully.
  • Our structure in the Presbyterian Church (USA) which continues to offer greater and greater possibilities to serve, ways to address the pain and failings of our world and our nation, reach out to global partners, bring possibilities of reconciliation within and beyond the Body of Christ that is our denomination and a sign of our intertwined and interconnected lives with one another and in Christ.  
  • Our faith in Christ that makes fear of all kinds powerless, peace our continuing work and love always possible.    
  • All that you do every day to show that faith,  live without fear, create time for peace and show the love of Christ.

In Peace,

Tom

PRAYER
“You are not alone,
   I am with you;
   I am you.
  For I needed another human instrument to continue my
          Incarnation and my Redemption.
   Out of all eternity, I chose you,
   I need you.”

                From Prayers by Michel Quoist

The Season of Lent

      The Season of Lent possesses many experiences, varied hopes, diverse agonies. I am thinking of each one of you who possesses one or more. 
The minister who is overwhelmed by the rush of programs, services, studies and sermons and yearns now for the final “Alleluia” of Easter Sunday.

  • The one who is aching to be able to serve in this season in a congregation. Any congregation. All seasons.
  • The retired minister who remembers, maybe gratefully, maybe sadly, how it used to be when the calendar was full.
  • The minister who not only serves outside but feels outside of congregational life and looks enviously at the dependable rhythm of the church year.
  • The educator who struggles to find understandable words to explain the Mystery of Resurrection to young disciples.
  • The mother or father who wishes there could be time right now to spend with family during a vacation week.
  • The minister who faces death, death in the church, death of the church, death of a relationship, death of a dream in a season pointing to new life.    
I am thinking of each of you and all who are serving in different ways.
I am praying for all of you as you look for the sign of new life to come also to you.
I am believing that the Promise of Resurrection will be ours in this season.
 
         Resurrection God, you bring life to that which was dead.  You bring joy to our sorrow, comfort for our tears.  O God, make us brave disciples who will not accept the dominance of death but will work with you, believe in you, hold steadfast to you as you create new life, new joy, new love in and around us by the power of your Son, our Risen Lord, Jesus Christ.  Amen.
 
              A Prayer from Gentle Words in a Raging Storm by Gary Weaver
 
Peace, 
Tom

Change is in the air

Next Ministers’ Communion

 We are experiencing many changes in congregational relationships, presbytery life, national actions and global interactions.   But we remain unchanged in our awareness that God is present in, with, through and among us all.  That presence, of course, is an active presence, bringing into being a new creation and connecting us in networks of grace, justice, hope and peace through Christ’s love.  Already we have a connection as ministers (and educators, commissioned ruling elders, candidates and inquirers, too!) in this Presbytery.  And on Thursday, March 9 at 11:30 a.m., I invite you all to celebrate that connection and claim Christ’s presence with us in a time of Worship and Sacrament at First Lakewood Church.  This service also will be the first time Olivia Hudson Smith joins us as our new Presbytery Stated Clerk.  Following the service we will go to a near-by restaurant, selected by host pastor Christine Beitzel, for lunch and fellowship together.  Please plan to join together.  We ask your RSVP by March 7.  Click here to RSVP online or call Tom at 303-777-2457.

Share your Experience

Our colleague, Eunjoo Kim, has connected us, too, with Leah Schade, Assistant Professor of Preaching and Worship at Lexington Theological Seminary in Lexington, Ky., who is carrying out a research project regarding how Mainline Protestant preachers serving congregations in the United States handle sermons on controversial justice issues. Part of the research is a questionnaire. She writes:  “The survey takes about 15-20 minutes to complete.  Responses are being collected through Feb. 28, 2017."  Click here for the survey link.

For more information about this project, you can click here.

Other Events and Opportunities

•    February 11  Book Discussion of Waking Up White  at  12 noon

•    February 17  8:00 a.m.   Mental Health First Aidat Presbytery Center

•    March 11  9:30 a.m.    Location to be announced

 “Come and See” for New Beginnings.  The Presbytery is again offering the opportunity for your congregation to be part of this discernment process.  Each participating congregation will be asked to pay only $500 toward the $3500 total cost.  The Come and See event is the critical event to begin understanding the process’ dimensions and move toward a decision to enroll.   

•    March 28  Presbytery Assembly at St. Paul  Church (Pre-assembly on Soul Shop)

Please remember to send in your congregation’s mission pledge.  Your giving is critical in our ability to reach out with one another, in partnership, with new ministries and across the globe!  
 

Prayers for all People

Amy Mendez, the Presbytery’s Pastor for Church Development and Multi-Racial Ministries, is now in Los Angeles following the death of her nephew, Abner.  He died after a long struggle with cancer.  Amy asks for our prayers for her, her family and her nephew’s family in this very sad time.  

     On the day of inauguration, let us also pray for our President, all our governmental leaders and our country.   And let us pray that we all assume our responsibility to live and act as Christ’s people.  And, then, let us act.   From various prayers, The Book of Common Worship offers these words for us:

Lord, keep this nation under your care.  Bless the leaders of our land that we may be a people at peace among ourselves and blessing to other nations of the earth.
May leaders be led by your wisdom; may they search your will and see it clearly.
I want to be on your right or your best side, not in terms of some political kingdom or ambition, but I just want to be there in love and in justice and in truth and in commitment to others, so we can make of this old world a new world.  (From a prayer by Martin Luther King Jr.) We commend our nation to your merciful care that we may live securely in peace and may be guided by your providence.  Give all in authority the wisdom and strength to know your will and to do it.  Help them remember that they are called to serve the people as lovers of truth and justice.

May God’s love hold you and all you love and all we together seek to serve.

Christmas Comes....

     She was just the way you would imagine her.  Lovely in an unassuming, gracious way.  Open to everyone.  Enjoying the simplest of things on the most ordinary of days.  I am speaking of the noted Presbyterian poet, Ann Weems, who died this year in March.  It was my real pleasure to meet her at a General Assembly.  In fact we were staying in the same cut-rate hotel where breakfast consisted only of weak coffee and big, open boxes of frosted donuts.  You get the picture, don’t you?  We sat each morning in the breakfast room drinking that coffee and wolfing down the donuts.  And as we did she would gently talk, ask questions, and bring us under her spell.  Her poetry did the same thing, I think.  Her words were gentle, never harsh and always brimming over with wonder.  And they were also filled with an awareness of God’s gifts to us … in each life … in every moment … and, especially, in the Gift of Christ.  Her poems for Advent and Christmas demonstrated that awareness particularly.  It seems right, therefore, to share bits of some of her poems for Christmas with you as we move toward that great day and remember the gifts that Ann Weems gave to the whole church.
  
                There are those who scoff at miracles.
                I don’t know what they make of the birth of the Child.
              For that matter,
                 I don’t know what they make of the birth of any child.

                         From “Christmas Miracle”

                Christmas comes every time we see God in other persons….
             Even now it comes
               In the face of hatred and warring –
                  no atrocity too terrible to stop it,
                 no Herod strong enough,
                no hurt deep enough,
               no curse shocking enough,
               no disaster shattering enough.
          For someone on earth will see the star,
             someone will hear the angel voices,
            someone will run to Bethlehem,
           someone will know peace and goodwill:
          the Christ will be born!

                         From “Christmas Comes” 

          And this year, when it’s time to pack the figures away,
             we’ll be more careful that the Peace and Goodwill
                 are not also boxed for another year!

                         From “Boxed”

"Waking Up White and Finding Myself in the Story of Race" is not only a provocative book title.  It is also the basis of an opportunity for deep and important conversation in the Presbytery.  Along with conversation, sponsored by the Racial Ethnic Diversity Work Group and led by Ann Christensen, there will be foods … that you all bring!  Two opportunities are available for sharing.  The first will be on January 17 at 6:00 p.m.  The second is February 11, beginning at noon.  Both will be held at the Presbytery Center.  Click here to RSVP. You can order books at The Thoughtful Christian.  

The Presbytery Assembly on January 24 at Capitol Heights Church.  The pre-assembly, led by the Rev. Tom Trinidad, former Vice-moderator of the General Assembly, will focus on the proposed new Directory for Worship.  Tom also served as a consultant to the Directory for Worship Task Force.  The stated meeting at 6:00 p.m. will include the installation of the moderator, vice-moderator and treasurer of the Presbytery as well as consideration of a recommendation to list the Presbytery Center for sale.  

The Association of Presbyterian Church Educators’ Annual Event will be held in Denver from January 25 – 28.   Our local committee has been hard at work.   There are also important pre-conference opportunities, click here to find out more.

Give Thanks for Cathy Ulrich and Joann Goss on January 31!  Join together to recognize the ministries of Cathy as she completes her service as interim stated clerk and Joann as she completes her term as Presbytery Treasurer.  An informal reception will be held from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. at the Presbytery Center with a brief program at 5:00 p.m.  You are asked to RSVP at the Presbytery website by January 25, click here to RSVP.

Mental Health First Aid on February 15th The first Mental Health First Aid was an outstanding event.  A second opportunity is now available for you.  Click here to register on-line.

 

The First Week of Advent

Christ has
No body now on earth but yours;
No hands but yours;
No feet but yours;
Yours are the eyes
Through which is to look out
Christ’s compassion to the world;
Yours are the feet
With which he is to go about
Doing good;
Yours are the hands
With which he is to bless now.

 Words of St. Teresa of Avila from readings for the First Week of Advent,
       A Guide to Prayer for Ministers and Other Servants

Advent Luncheon
Remember Today is the Deadline for your RSVP for the Advent Luncheon on December 8th. A great crowd has already registered, but we still need to hear from you. And we do want to see you there! Call 303-777-2454 or click here to make arrangements for a reservation and payment.

Other Upcoming Events

Dee Cooper invites all ministers to join together for a final session in this series of gatherings. These gathering have been extraordinary gifts from Dee.  The final session will be held on December 21, 12 – 1:30 p.m. at the Presbytery Center.  The theme is: “Play and Living in Essence.“  Please bring your own lunch.  

Presbytery Assembly on January 24, 2017 at Capitol Heights Church.  The pre-assembly, led by the Rev. Tom Trinidad, former Vice-moderator of the General Assembly, will focus on the proposed new Directory for Worship.  The stated meeting at 6:00 p.m. will include the installation of the moderator, vice-moderator and treasurer of the Presbytery.

The Association of Presbyterian Church Educators’ Annual Event will be held in Denver from January 25 – 28, 2017.  Our local committee has been hard at work. Scholarships are available.  Registration is open now.  Go to www.apcenet.org.  

Mental Health First Aid on February 15, 2017. The first Mental Health First Aid was an outstanding event.  A second opportunity is now available for you.  Register coming soon! Check out our website at www.denpres.org/events.

Book Study and Fellowship. Watch for the new times for the Book Discussion of Waking Up White.  It will be led by Ann Christensen and is sponsored by the Racial Ethnic Diversity Work Group and Leadership Work Group.   

A Humble Response

O God, hear their cry.
The children are crying in the streets of Aleppo.  The bombs have left their homes, their mosques, their churches, their hospitals in ruins.  The bodies of their neighbors, their teachers, their friends, their relatives, their parents are mangled beyond recognition.  Food is rare.  Hope is rarer still.  O God, hear their cry.

                                        A Humble Response
This past week the Presbytery Council voted to send half of the Presbytery’s portion of the Peace and Global Witness Offering to the National Evangelical Synod of Syria and Lebanon for relief work.  Your gifts can also go to this or other churches and organizations seeking to offer compassion, healing, hope and, we pray, peace.

O God, hear their cry.
The children are crying in the streets of Haiti and Jamaica and Jacksonville.  The winds have ripped their homes apart.  Schools are left without walls.  With the cessation of the winds comes the threat of disease.  Fear, hunger, despair are ruling.  O God, hear their cry.

                                         A Humble Response
 Already Presbyterian Disaster Assistance is at work.  It will come early and it will stay for the long journey of real and lasting recovery.  Already through the One Great Hour of Sharing you have participated in that work.  If you want to give additionally, you can offer your gifts to PDA through www.pda.pcusa.org.

O God, hear their cry. 
The children are crying in the streets of Charlotte and Orlando and Oklahoma City.  The children are crying for brothers killed in Cleveland and New York.  The children are crying for fathers and mothers killed by those they thought should protect them.  Other children are crying for fathers and mothers killed because they did try to protect the innocent.  The children are crying because the color of their skins still, yet, always forces fear to rule them, too.  The children are crying because no one will hear, no one will pass laws, no one will say “no” to hate, no one can tell them when this will end.  The truth is, children are crying because we do not hear and we do not act.   O God, hear their cry.

                                        A Humble Response
The Racial Ethnic Diversity Work Group in the Presbytery does hear and they are responding with new possibilities to speak in our congregations about race in our lives, in our world and in our churches, too.  You can open the doors of your church and welcome them to speak with you, listen to stories and find a way to deeper understanding and greater action.  You can contact the Presbytery at any time to find out more.

You also can join the Leadership Event, “Courageous Listening” at Highlands on November 11 and 12.  You can talk with one another, learn what it means to “hear the voices of those long silenced,” and discover a new way to build community in that time of retreat and when you return to your churches.  If what has been happening in our nation and world touches you, I encourage you to register today for this time together.  Go to www.highlandscamp.org or call 303-747-2888 to register.   
                                               
Celebrate Ordination Anniversaries

Jacqueline Decker Vanderpol  ~ Ordained on October 1, 2006
 Celebrating the Tenth Anniversary of her Ordination

Robert Flory ~  Ordained on October 11, 1981  
Celebrating the Thirty-fifth Anniversary of his Ordination

Rebecca New  ~  Ordained on October  11, 1986
Celebrating the Thirtieth Anniversary of her Ordination

Stuart Plummer ~ Ordained on October 14, 1956
Celebrating the Sixtieth Anniversary of his Ordination

To God we give thanks for each of these servants, for the power of their unique ministries and for all they have done to build up the Church of Jesus Christ.  Strengthen them each, O God, for ministry today and always.  Amen. 

Some other opportunities for you:
Dee Cooper invites all ministers to join together with her for a new series of gatherings, held on the third Wednesday of each month, 12 – 1:30 p.m. at the Presbytery Center.  These gatherings have been extraordinary gifts from Dee and times for us all.  Please bring your lunch. The next time of gathering is October 19th and the theme is “Emotions:  Friend or Foe.”


Mental Health First Aid on November 17th at the Presbytery Center
Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) is a groundbreaking, internationally recognized evidence-based training program committed to empowering individuals to identify, understand and respond to those in mental health and substance abuse crises.  MHFA encompasses a core program tailored for adults called Adult Mental Health First Aid. This is an interactive 8-hour course to strengthen your ministry and the ministry of congregations. You can register on-line at click here.

Advent Luncheon, December 8th and noon at the Presbytery Center 
You will not want to miss this time together during the Season of Advent.  It will be a great time to be together and to enjoy a spectacular meal of barbecue from a renowned restaurant. Woven through our luncheon and time together will be the unforgettable words from Adrian Miller about the history and meaning of barbecue in our country.  Adrian, executive director of the Colorado Council of Churches, is a recognized expert on barbecue and an award winning author.  All ministers, certified Christian educators, candidates,  inquirers and their guests are invited. Plan now to attend this not-to-be-missed occasion.

 

To Journey with God...Together

In most of our congregations it is time to form budgets, interpret the ways those budgets are carrying out mission and ministry and encourage grateful giving to the church.   The same is true, of course, in the Presbytery.  To help us and also to help you interpret for your congregation the mission and ministry of the Presbytery and General Assembly, a new series of bulletin announcements is being provided to you.  In those weeks you will find brief glimpses of the way the Presbytery of Denver is reaching out to the world with congregations, in work that forms new ministries, through partnerships and with the Presbytery Mission Agency.   As we were preparing these announcements, Rachel Yates, an elder at Calvary Church, who now serves in Louisville as the Associate Director for Program for World Mission in the PMA, provided this brief and very usable description of Presbyterian Mission Agency.  As you continue to provide information to your congregation and also field questions about the Presbyterian Church (USA) and its agencies, where money is going there and why we should give, I thought Rachel’s words would be helpful.  And think, she was able to do it with only two sentences.  I think that is some kind of record.
 
          The Presbyterian Mission Agency brings together resources, passionate people, and nearly 180 years of experience for sustainable ministries in hunger, reconciliation, justice, evangelism, education, discipleship, and peacemaking.  With Presbyterians across the denomination and partners around the world, we accomplish together what we couldn’t do alone, as we live out our calling to do God’s mission.                   

If I can help in any other ways to interpret the mission and ministry of the Presbytery or the Presbyterian Church, do not hesitate to call on me at any time.  Blessings for this important work.  ~ Rachel Yates

Now, here are some things especially for you …

Please pray for Peggy Marshall as she begins treatment for cancer following surgery last month.  Please continue to pray for Joe Mares in his recuperation and rehabilitation.

Celebrate Ordination Anniversaries with …

Jonathan Masters Hole ~ Ordained on June 5, 1966  
Celebrating the Fiftieth Anniversary of his Ordination
Justin Spurlock ~ Ordained on June 5, 2011    
Celebrating the Fifth Anniversary of his Ordination
Bruce Spear  ~ Ordained on June 9, 1991
Celebrating the Twenty-fifth Anniversary of his Ordination
Dee Cooper  ~ Ordained on June 22, 1996  
Celebrating the Twentieth Anniversary of her Ordination
Russ Kane  ~ Ordained on August 2, 1981
Celebrating the Thirty-fifth Anniversary of his Ordination
Dan Dolquist ~ Ordained on August 19, 1991  
Celebrating the Twenty-fifth Anniversary of his Ordination
RJ Ross  ~ Ordained on August 25, 1971  
Celebrating the Forty-fifth Anniversary of his Ordination
Clarence Ammons ~ Ordained on September 1, 1966
Celebrating the Fiftieth Anniversary of his Ordination
Spencer Lundgaard ~ Ordained on September 20, 2001
Celebrating the Fifteenth Anniversary of his Ordination

For these servants we give thanks, O God, and ask blessing, strength, and love for their continued ministry for you and Christ’s Church.  Amen.


Three Gatherings for Ministers, Commissioned Ruling Elders, Certified Christian Educators, Candidates and Inquirers ….

A Gathering for Worship and Fellowship on Thursday, September 29 at 11:30 a.m. join your colleagues for a time of fellowship, worship and Sacrament at our first service of Communion in the fall season.  We will be gathering at St. Andrew Church and Carol Fisher, pastor of the church, is making arrangements at a nearby restaurant for our lunch together.  You do need to RSVP for the lunch, click here.  I hope you can join us for this time of relaxed conversation, informal worship, good food and community.  Your RSVP is asked no later than Wednesday, September 28th.  

The Grant Street Task Force which is exploring future use of the Presbytery property will hold a dialogue about its proposals following the Ministers’ Communion Luncheon on September 29 at 2:00 p.m.  Katie Robb Davis, associate pastor at Wellshire Church and a task force member, will convene and facilitate the discussion at St. Andrew Church.  Please also RSVP for this time of dialogue to beth@denpres.org and feel free to let others in your congregations know about this opportunity. 

Dee Cooper invites all ministers to join together with her for a new series of gatherings, held on the third Wednesday of each month, 12:00– 1:30 p.m.  at the Presbytery Center.  These gatherings have been extraordinary gifts from Dee and times for us all.  Please bring your lunch. The first one is  Wednesday, September 21, 2016 12:00-1:30 p.m.          

Do you feel you have a little too much drama in your church? in your life? Would you like to reduce the amount of drama you experience to just what you see on television?

Join us as we explore the Drama Triangle- (the Karpman Drama Triangle- adapted by Hendricks) By exploring the hero, victim, villain roles, we can identify who I am in the conflict triangle, get ourselves out with ease.  We will also explore how we can actually be keeping it going.

Successive times and topics are:  
             October 19 – “Emotions:  Friend or Foe”
             November 16 – “Sexuality and the Pastorate”
             December 21 – “Play and Living in Essence” 

Upcoming Events for the Whole Presbytery ….

Leadership Retreat, November 11th and 12th at Highlands

It Is What You Asked For!

 We have heard you!  You tell us, “Our church needs better communication!”   But communicating begins with listening!   Listening is the communication skill we are expected to do most often, but it is taught the least. Instruction and practice, however, can improve our listening skills, even to the point of creating courageous listeners. That’s the goal of Denver Presbytery’s annual Leadership Retreat, Courageous Listening. Join Steve Yamaguchi, Fuller Seminary Dean of Students, at Highlands Camp on Friday, November 11th and Saturday, November 12th for inspiring worship, thoughtful presentations, and applicable skills as we learn to listen to everyone in our churches. The $90 fee includes all meals from Friday evening through Saturday afternoon and overnight housing in single-gender rooms. To register, go to www.highlandscamp.org or call 303-747-2888.

Mental Health First Aid on November 17th at the Presbytery Center

Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) is a groundbreaking, internationally recognized evidence-based training program committed to empowering individuals to identify, understand and respond to those in mental health and substance abuse crises.  MHFA encompasses a core program tailored for adults called Adult Mental Health First Aid. This is an interactive 8-hour course.
SCHEDULE:
7:00 a.m.-7:45 a.m. Registration
8:00 a.m. SHARP-Class begins
1/2 hour for lunch, TBD
5:00 p.m. Class ends
WHERE: The Presbytery of Denver
WHEN: Thursday, November 17, 2016
Click here to register.

I also invite you to check out other opportunities on our events page.

 

Three Gatherings for ...

   Ministers, Commissioned Ruling Elders, Certified Christian Educators, Candidates and Inquirers

A Gathering for Worship and Fellowship  on Thursday, September 29th at 11:30 a.m. join your colleagues for a time of fellowship, worship and Sacrament at our first service of Communion in the fall season.  We will be gathering at St. Andrew Church and Carol Fisher, pastor of the church, is making arrangements at a nearby restaurant for our lunch together.  You do need to RSVP for the lunch by emailing Beth or calling 303-777-2453.  I hope you can join us for this time of relaxed conversation, informal worship, good food and community.  Your RSVP is asked no later than Wednesday, September 28th.  

The Grant Street Task Force which is exploring future use of the Presbytery property will hold a dialogue about its proposals following the Ministers’ Communion Luncheon on September 29th at 2:00 p.m.  Katie Robb Davis, associate pastor at Wellshire Church and a task force member, will convene and facilitate the discussion at St. Andrew Church.  Please also RSVP for this time of dialogue to Beth.  

Dee Cooper invites all ministers to join together with her for a new series of gatherings, held on the third Wednesday of each month, 12:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. at the Presbytery Center.  These gatherings have been extraordinary gifts from Dee and times for us all.  Please bring your lunch. The first one is …   
          
                              September 21, 2016 12:00-1:30 p.m.

Do you feel you have a little too much drama in your church? in your life? would you like to reduce the amount of drama you experience to just what you see on television?

Join us as we explore the Drama Triangle- (the Karpman Drama Triangle- adapted by Hendricks) By exploring the hero, victim, villain roles, we can identify who I am in the conflict triangle, get ourselves out with ease.  We will also explore how we can actually be keeping it going.

Successive times and topics are:  
             October 19 – “Emotions:  Friend or Foe”
             November 16 – “Sexuality and the Pastorate”
             December 21 – “Play and Living in Essence” 

In Peace,

Tom
August 2016

Pentecost Excitement

Pentecost Excitement

On this coming Day of Pentecost it is fair to ask: “what is the church becoming?”  I also think that it is equally fair to answer, “No one really knows.”  At least no one can describe the church becoming one particular thing and going in one singular direction.  So, beware the marketers of easy ideas about the church.  Some would say, for example, that the church has no future with confessions of faith.  It is true that large numbers of those both inside and outside the church are questioning such statements and finding them often puzzling and sometimes aggravating and senseless. Yet, across the globe, in other parts of the world, there is real excitement that the Presbyterian Church will be voting to include the courageous words of the Confession of Belhar in its Book of Confessions.  Many would say that the church is on a steady, inevitable decline that is headed to death.  Again, beware of easy views. Indeed our Presbytery showed a net loss of members again this year.  But at the same time more than 20 percent of our congregations did show an increase in membership.  And the fellowships and new worshiping communities of the Presbytery that are not yet “counted” in the official membership tally show increased numbers gathering in worship. 

Some might say that the connectionalism of the Presbyterian Church is no longer viable.  I would be living in a state of perpetual denial if I didn’t recognize the way connectionalism, the traditions of deciding and gathering, and the wide wisdom of the church are challenged every day.  Yet, the payment of per capita, the way we “pay” for being Presbyterian, exceeds 95% in our Presbytery and mission partnerships, the coming together of congregations to do common work together, involve more than 80 per cent of our congregations.  We connect and we are connected.  We also connect with Presbyterians across the earth.  As we prepare for the visit of another delegation from Zimbabwe Presbytery, twelve congregations have eagerly agreed to welcome delegates as preachers and as Presbyterian sisters and brothers from the global church. Funding for mission has been strained in our denomination. Yet in the last few months, when Presbyterians heard that world mission’s work was threatened, enough special giving was received to assure that for the next year there will be no mission co-worker positions eliminated. All congregations struggle in their ministries, but some churches, for example, those who have engaged in New Beginnings, have found new purpose and energy and are claiming a new future.  And they are excited.  In different ways congregations are finding that their ministries are unique and incomparable in their neighborhoods and communities.  These churches are small and large; their services of worship are traditional and contemporary; they are located in the mountains, the plains, the suburbs and the city.  There is no singular description of them, except, about their churches and their ministries, they are feeling excited.  There is excitement in some others.  It is true that fewer people are entering ministry but those who do are showing real excitement about serving in creative ways and places that, in many cases, will require multiple ways of earning a living.    

Frankly, their excitement is what I am experiencing in the church.  We don’t know exactly what we are becoming but we know we are moving, growing, changing, reaching toward something that we dare to say is part of the work of the Spirit.  It is a difficult, depressing, fearful, confusing time to be in the church.  But it also, at the very same time, is great to be in the church today.  It is amazing to experience the vast diversity of the church.  It is astounding to try to keep track of the variety of ways that it serves.   It is a privilege to be serving as leaders. And in this work and within our church, with you, I am excited.  

A Journey to the Mountains for the Next Ministers’ Communion

Don’t miss the next Service of Communion for ministers which will be held at South Park Community Church in Fairplay on Wednesday, June 15th beginning at 11:30 a.m.  We will  be hosted by South Park’s pastor, Kenny Shaw. Also if you are interested in going the day before the event and staying in Stan and Marty Jewell’s home in Buena Vista, please contact Stan at 720-209-6700 or click here to email him. 

Joining us at this event will be our Zimbabwe Presbytery delegation, Tinashe Chemvumi, Kuraone Mutimwii and Mike Chiwanda. This the concluding event for their entire delegation visit and I genuinely hope you can make the time and effort to join together.   Kenny is also making arrangements for us to have lunch at a favorite local restaurant or, maybe, saloon.  It should be a great time together!  

Click here to RSVP  by June 13th or call the Presbytery Center at 303-777-2453 .  If you would like to car pool, please indicate your desire when you call with your reservation.  

Have you made your breakfast reservation?  That’s right there will be breakfast treats waiting for you on May 16 at 8:00 a.m. at the Presbytery Center.  At 8:30 Matt Syrdal will provide a glimpse of what WilderSoul is all about and what the special event on August 20 and 21 will offer.  Join us simply to learn more.  And who knows, you may decide to take the step to be part of this time?  To register or for more information, click here or contact Matt by May 12th.  

The 2016 Omaha Presbyterian Seminary Foundation Summer Pastors’ School

This outstanding event will be held June 5 – 11 at Hastings College in Hastings, Nebraska.  You can register now (through April 20) and save $25 on your fee.  To register, or more information, click here or call 888-244-6714.

The Developmental, Risky, Experimental, Adaptive Mission (DREAM) Grant

This grant opportunity is being offered by the Presbyterian Mission Agency in order to encourage dreamers, risk-takers, pioneers and trailblazers.  This grant is designed to encourage the birth of new ventures through congregations and presbyteries rather than to support the expansion of existing program within congregations.   An initiative may receive a one-time grant of up to $10,000.   For the purpose of this grant, new is defined as an initiative that was created no earlier than January 1, 2014.   Proposals need to be received by the Office of Mission Program Grants no later than June 1.  Applications are also available from this same office.   Columbine United Church received a $10,000 -DREAM Grant last year for its Neighborhood Hubs project.  Your church may be able to receive one this year!  

For Your Time of Prayer, Please  Remember ….

  • Westminster Church as it enters its time of work and discernment in the New Beginnings process;
  •  Ashley Seaman Taylor and her husband, Dwayne, at the birth of their twins, India Olivia Hope and Oliver Leon Everett born on May 2;
  • Bob Hampel at the death of his wife, Carolyn; the grieving family and friends of Bud Everitt; and Betsey Muldrow at the death of her husband, Bill;
  • Peggy Marshall as she continues in rehabilitation following surgery;
  • Our Zimbabwe Presbytery Delegation as they prepare for their journey and time with us beginning May 18;
  • The whole church and all congregations as we mark together the Day of Pentecost this coming Sunday!

In Peace,

Tom

 

A Message from the Presbytery Pastor

  

“Roots and Wings: a Multi-cultural Celebration”

Think about this:  “Differences, not sameness, is our stronghold for innovation and sustainable growth.”  If you find those words challenging, hopeful, confusing, affirming, aggravating, impossible for your church, needed by your church, descriptive of your church, in other words, however you hear and receive them, you will want to come to this important multi-cultural event.  

To be held on Saturday, April 16th at First Aurora Church, this very special event, sponsored by the Racial Ethnic Diversity Work Group, includes multi-cultural worship, a keynote address by the Rev. Raafat Girgis, pastor of Immanuel Presbyterian Church in Los Angeles and former Director of the Multicultural Ministries Office of Presbyterian Mission Agency,  and a fabulous, festive, very diverse meal … that you can help provide!  It will begin at 10:00 a.m. and conclude by 1:30 p.m.  Please RSVP by April 13th by emailing info@denpres.org with the number of people attending.  

Untamed Mind of Christ: At Highlands Presbyterian Camp
Thursday, May 19th at 6 pm - Saturday, May 21st at 2 pm. 

A wilderness retreat for Christian women and men leading the church in an age of profound crisis and invitation. You will experience deep personal renewal, community and awakened vision for leadership through a variety of innovative nature-based practices on the land, self designed ceremony, the intimacy of small groups, and the authentic voice of your own wild soul. Cultivate inner-resources and learn practices for visionary leadership in a wide variety of vocations and ministry contexts. The cost is $299 which includes lodging and meals for two nights and two days and guide fees - space is limited! For more Information and to Register visit Highlands Camp.  

Next Ministers’ Communion … A Journey to the Mountains!

Don’t miss the next Service of Communion for ministers which will be held at South Park Community Church in Fairplay on June 15th.  We will be arranging transportation so that we can carpool to Fairplay and be hosted by South Park’s pastor, Kenny Shaw.  You can reserve now.  Also if you are interested in going the day before the event and staying in Stan and Marty Jewell’s home in Buena Vista, please contact Stan at 720-209-6700 or email him at stanjewell1@hotmail.com.  Joining us at this event will be our Zimbabwe Presbytery delegation,  Tinashe Chemvumi, Kuraone Mutimwii and Mike Chiwanda.  Kenny is also making arrangements for us to have lunch at a favorite local restaurant or, maybe, saloon.  It should be a great time together!

Board of Pensions Seminars Offered in May

“Growing into Tomorrow Today,” a retirement planning event will be held on May 19 and 20, 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. each day.  

“Render Unto Caesar,” a seminar for church treasurers and administrators, is scheduled for May 21, 8:30 to 5:00 p.m.  It is held on Saturday in order to be more available to those who work on week-days.

Both seminars will be held at Wellshire Church.  To register go to www.pensions.org/seminars and select the blue “Register” button or call 1-800-773-7752.  The seminars are offered without cost to participants.  A daily meal fee of $15 is charged.

The 2016 Omaha Presbyterian Seminary Foundation Summer Pastors’ School

This outstanding event will be held June 5 – 11 at Hastings College in Hastings, Nebraska.  You can register now (through April 20) and save $25 on your fee.  You can phone 888-244-6714 or 402-397-5138 or email opsf@opsf-omaha.org for information.  Or go to the foundation’s website at www.omahapresbyterianseminaryfoundation.org.  

The Developmental, Risky, Experimental, Adaptive Mission (DREAM) Grant

This grant opportunity is being offered by the Presbyterian Mission Agency in order to encourage dreamers, risk-takers, pioneers and trailblazers.  This grant is designed to encourage the birth of new ventures through congregations and presbyteries rather than to support the expansion of existing program within congregations.   An initiative may receive a one-time grant of up to $10,000.   For the purpose of this grant, new is defined as an initiative that was created no earlier than January 1, 2014.   Proposals need to be received by the Office of Mission Program Grants no later than June 1.  Applications are also available from this same office.   Columbine United Church received a $10,000 -DREAM Grant last year for its Neighborhood Hubs project.  Your church may be able to receive one this year!  

For Your Time of Prayer, Please  Remember ….

           …. Paul Kempf and our colleague Robert Gwaltney who were married on September 3, 2015 in the Chapel at Presbyterian Center, Louisville, KY;

            ... To give thanks for the recent recognition by the Presbyterian Church (USA) of the Vietnamese Presbyterian Fellowship and the Myanmar Christian Church as New Worshiping Communities.  Pray also for their pastoral leaders, Tu Minh Bui and Andrew Thang; 

             … Our next Presbytery Assembly on Tuesday, March 29 at Columbine United Church that we might serve Christ and Christ’s people through our meeting; 

            … For each other and our world as we move through the coming Holy Week.  May all find faith strengthened, hope restored and love renewed so that we might serve and live anew in the Risen Christ! 

  

One Never Knows Where and When God Will Speak

One never knows where and when God will speak.  I am enjoying reading David McCullough’s The Wright Brothers, the distinguished historian’s book on those who took flight and changed our world.  At one point, McCullough quotes a companion of the Wrights who reports that “’the good humor of Wilbur, after a spill out of the machine, or a break somewhere, or a stubborn motor, was always reassuring.”  He goes on to say that he was always impressed by the Wrights’ “’patient perseverance, their calm faith in ultimate success, their mutual consideration of each other….’”   

 As Lent approaches I am taking those words as some kind of word from God to me.  I am taking them as encouragement to keep “good humor” and not take everything or, particularly, myself with over-zealous seriousness.  I receive those words as a constant word to persevere each day with what I feel called to do and be and to know that success (whatever that may mean or be) resides not in me but in One who is shaping and coaxing life into being.  And I am led to see again that what is of ultimate importance is not my work but to be considerate of those who are closest to me.   That includes you, of course.  I hope that these days bring us all, as ministers of the Word, to feel close and considerate of each other and to find ways to encourage each other in ways that reassure one another.   I would also love to know what you are reading and hearing that are particularly touching you in this season.  Feel free to tell me and to let me pass on to others the places and people, events and words that lead you to hear God speaking.  A blessed Lent to you all.


An opportunity to be part of the next New Beginnings process will be offered beginning on Saturday, February 13.   On that date, beginning at 9:30 a.m. at Good Shepherd Church in Northglenn, Michael Whitman of the Presbyterian Church’s Office of Transformation will present “Elements of New Beginnings.”  It is an informal time when you can learn about the basics of the New Beginnings process.  All are welcome to learn about this opportunity that has affected the lives of nine of our congregations.  March 12 is the official “Come and See” presentation for all who are interested in New Beginnings.  The location will be announced at a later time.   The deadline for churches to “join” New Beginnings will be April 8.     We would very much like to know who would be attending on February 13.  Please RSVP directly to me at tom@denpres.org.   

“Courage:  Acting Fearlessly in Fearful Times” is the powerful event, designed for all congregational leaders in the presbytery by the Leadership Work Group.  It will be held on February 20 from 9:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the New Hope Church in Castle Rock.  The event will feature inspiring worship and an abundance of suggestions for small but significant steps to become the courageous church we are called to be.  Registration (including payment for a light breakfast) through the Presbytery website now is available.  As we begin a new year of service, we encourage you to invite your leaders to attend.

“Journey to the Common Good:  From a Culture of Fear to the Practice of Neighborliness” is the theme of Montview Blvd. Church’s “Weekend with Walter Brueggemann” on February 26, 27, and 28.  Dr. Brueggemann will be speaking on “A Voice from Elsewhere:  The Prophetic Tasks of Judgment and Hope” (February 26, 7:00 p.m.), “Relinquish and Receive God’s Gifts (February 27, 9:00 a.m.), followed by a conversation at 10:30 a.m.  On Sunday, February 28, he will preach at the 8:15 and 10:30 services of worship and lead the adult education forum at 9:15.  Go to www.montview.org for tickets. 

Stewardship Kaleidoscope, the Presbyterian Church’s premier event for stewardship education, will be held February 29- March 2 in San Antonio, TX.  It offers outstanding plenary speakers and worship.  This year the worship leader will be the Rev. Dr. Cynthia Campbell, pastor of Highland Presbyterian Church in Louisville, KY. and former President of McCormick Theological Seminary.  It also includes over 35 workshops covering topics such as annual stewardship, planned giving, current trends in stewardship and capital campaigns.  To register and for more information visit
www.stewardshipkaleidoscope.org.  

Next Two Ministers’ Communions  

On Wednesday, March 2 we will gather at the Presbytery Center for a service of communion at 11:30 a.m.   Pastor Tu Minh Bui of the Vietnamese Church, Amy Mendez, Cathy Ulrich and I will serve as your hosts.   Following the service of worship, we will re-assemble at a near-by restaurant which promises to serve great Vietnamese fare!   I hope you plan to be present for this time together.   Please RSVP by Tuesday, March 1.  You can call 303-777-2453 or email beth@denpres.org.  

 A slightly longer trip for most of us is planned for a service of communion at the Southpark Community Church in Fairplay on June 15.  We will be arranging transportation so that we can carpool to Fairplay and be hosted by Southpark’s pastor, Kenny Shaw.  More information will be coming about the time together, but put it on your calendar now and plan to journey together on June 15.  

Our March Presbytery Assembly will be held one week later than our usual fourth Tuesday schedule.  Since the fourth Tuesday falls within Holy Week, we will convene on Tuesday, March 29 at Columbine United Church.  


Board of Pensions Seminars

“Growing into Tomorrow Today,” a retirement planning event will be held on May 19 and 20, 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. each day.  

“Render Unto Caesar,” a seminar for church treasurers and administrators, is scheduled for May 21, 8:30 to 5:00 p.m.  It is held on Saturday in order to be more available to those who work on week-days.

Both seminars will be held at Wellshire Church.  To register go to www.pensions.org/seminars and select the blue “Register” button or call 1-800-773-7752.  The seminars are offered without cost to participants.  A daily meal fee of $15 is charged.

The 2016 Omaha Presbyterian Seminary Foundation Summer Pastors’ School will be held June 5 – 11 at Hastings College in Hastings, Nebraska.  You can register now (through April 20) and save $25 on your fee.  For more information, call 888-244-6714 or 402-397-5138, email opsf@opsf-omaha.org  or visit their website at www.omahapresbyterianseminaryfoundation.org.  

For Your Consideration …

     Lent begins on Wednesday, February 10.   Once again this year, Presbyterians Today has produced a Lenten devotional, Be Holy, for use by individuals and congregations.  A limited number are available now in the Presbytery Center.  You also can order them by calling 800-524-2612 and ask for PCS 17116-15-010.

       The Developmental, Risky, Experimental, Adaptive Mission (DREAM) Grant is being offered by the Presbyterian Mission Agency in order to encourage dreamers, risk-takers, pioneers and trailblazers.  This grant is designed to encourage the birth of new ventures through congregations and presbyteries rather than to support the expansion of existing program within congregations.   An initiative may receive a one-time grant of up to $10,000.   For the purpose of this grant, new is defined as an initiative that was created no earlier than January 1, 2014.   Proposals need to be received by the Office of Mission Program Grants no later than June 1.  Applications are also available from this same office.   Columbine United Church received a $10,000 -DREAM Grant last year for its Neighborhood Hubs project.  Your church may be able to receive one this year!  

For Your Time of Prayer, please continue to remember ….

       … Pat Jordan and Pat Russell as they grieve the loss of their loved ones.

        … The people of Flint, Michigan in their struggles.

        … Bob and Carolyn Hampel as Carolyn continues in her time of rehabilitation.

        … Bruce Spear as recuperates from surgery.  

In Peace,

Tom

 

Dates and Opportunities

You are invited to attend the services of installation for the Rev. Dr. Charles Traylor as Pastor of the Church of the Hills on Saturday, January 23, at 3:00 p.m. and the Rev. Dr. Carol Fisher as Pastor of St. Andrew Presbyterian Church on Sunday, January 31, at 3:00 p.m.  All ministers are encouraged to attend these important services of worship of the Presbytery.

Our next Presbytery Assembly will be held this coming Tuesday, January 26 at Habitat for Humanity in Denver. We will be hosted by the members of the Carpenter’s Helpers Mission Partnership. The meeting will include the installation of our new moderator, the Rev. Dr. Stan Jewell, and the vice-moderator, Ruling Elder Dr. Jean Demmler. Please note, too, that a pre-assembly event about Habitat for Humanity begins at 3:00 p.m. Reports, directions and other important information for the meeting are being emailed to commissioners and churches.

“Courage:  Acting Fearlessly in Fearful Times” is the powerful event, designed for all congregational leaders in the presbytery by the Leadership Work Group. It will be held on February 20 from 9:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the New Hope Church in Castle Rock. The event will feature inspiring worship and an abundance of suggestions for small but significant steps to become the courageous church we are called to be. Registration (including payment for a light breakfast) through the Presbytery website now is available. As we begin a new year of service, we encourage you to invite your leaders to attend.

Stewardship Kaleidoscope, the Presbyterian Church’s premier event for stewardship education, will be held February 29- March 2 in San Antonio, TX. It offers outstanding plenary speakers and worship.  This year the worship leader will be the Rev. Dr. Cynthia Campbell, pastor of Highland Presbyterian Church in Louisville, KY and former President of McCormick Theological Seminary.  It also includes over 35 workshops covering topics such as annual stewardship, planned giving,current trends in stewardship and capital campaigns. To register and for more information visit www.stewardshipkaleidoscope.org.  

Next Two Ministers’ Communions  
On Wednesday, March 2 we will gather at the Presbytery Center for a service of communion at 11:30 a.m. Pastor Tu Minh Bui of the Vietnamese Church, Amy Mendez, Cathy Ulrich and I will serve as your hosts.  Following the service of worship, we will re-assemble at a near-by restaurant which promises to serve great Vietnamese fare! I hope you plan to be present for this time together.   

A slightly longer trip for most of us is planned for a service of communion at the Southpark Community Church in Fairplay on June 15. We will be arranging transportation so that we can carpool to Fairplay and be hosted by Southpark’s pastor, Kenny Shaw. More information will be coming about the time together, but put it on your calendar now and plan to journey together on June 15.  

Our March Presbytery Assembly will be held one week later than our usual fourth Tuesday schedule. Since the fourth Tuesday falls within Holy Week, we will convene on Tuesday, March 29 at Columbine United Church.  

Board of Pensions Seminars
“Growing into Tomorrow Today,” a retirement planning event will be held on May 19 and 20, 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. each day.  

“Render Unto Caesar,” a seminar for church treasurers and administrators, is scheduled for May 21, 8:30 to 5:00 p.m. It is held on Saturday in order to be more available to those who work on week-days.

Both seminars will be held at Wellshire Church. Information about registration will be available in the near future.

The 2016 Omaha Presbyterian Seminary Foundation Summer Pastors’ School will be held June 5 – 11 at Hastings College in Hastings, Nebraska. You can register now (through April 20) and save $25 on your fee. For more information call 888-244-6714 or 402-397-5138, email susan@opsf-omaha.org, or go to the foundation’s website at www.omahapresbyterianseminaryfoundation.org.  

For Your Consideration …

     Lent begins on Wednesday, February 10. Once again, this year Presbyterians Today has produced a Lenten devotional, Be Holy, for use by individuals and congregations. A limited number will be available in the Presbytery Center. You also can order them by calling 800-524-2612 and ask for PCS 17116-15-010.

      An opportunity to be part of the next New Beginnings process will be offered beginning on Saturday, February 13.  On that date, beginning at 9:30 a.m. at Good Shepherd Church in Northglenn, Michael Whitman of the Presbyterian Church’s Office of Transformation will present “Elements of New Beginnings.” All are welcome to come and learn about this process that has affected the lives of nine of our congregations. March 12 is the official “Come and See” presentation for all who are interested in New Beginnings. The location will be announced at a later time.   The deadline for churches to “join” New Beginnings will be April 8.  We would very much like to know who would be attending on February 13. Please RSVP directly to me at tom@denpres.org.   

     The Developmental, Risky, Experimental, Adaptive Mission (DREAM) Grant is being offered by the Presbyterian Mission Agency in order to encourage dreamers, risk-takers, pioneers and trailblazers. This grant is designed to encourage the birth of new ventures through congregations and presbyteries rather than to support the expansion of existing program within congregations. An initiative may receive a one-time grant of up to $10,000. For the purpose of this grant, new is defined as an initiative that was created no earlier than January 1, 2014. Proposals need to be received by the Office of Mission Program Grants no later than June 1. Applications are also available from this same office. Columbine United Church received a $10,000 -DREAM Grant last year for its Neighborhood Hubs project.  Your church may be able to receive one this year!  

In Peace,

Tom

A few thoughts before and for Christmas

Epiphany Luncheon
All ministers, commissioned ruling elders, pastoral leaders, certified Christian educators, candidates and inquirers are invited to An Epiphany Luncheon on January 6, 2016. It will be held at the Holiday Inn Select. The cost is $25 per person. Send your RSVP with the check (made out to the Presbytery of Denver) by December 31st. Please do not delay getting your reservation with your check to us by the deadline. We want to see you there!
  
Prayer Requests 
Prayers for Les Avery and his family are asked following the death of Les’ wife Jackie.
Please pray for Carolyn and Bob Hampel.  Carolyn suffered a stroke and is now in rehabilitation.

2016 Youth Triennium
If you have youth that should be thinking about attending the Presbyterian Youth Triennium, please note that the deadline for registering to attend with the Presbytery group and receive scholarship assistance is January 10, 2016. For more information refer to the mailing you received or contact Sandy Safford 303.822.5717, email faithsense@earthlink.net or Cindy Moorman 303.659.2192.
 
LEADERSHIP EVENT SCHEDULED FOR FEBRUARY
“Courage:  Acting Fearlessly in Fearful Times” is the powerful event, designed for all congregational leaders in the presbytery by the Leadership Work Group. It will be held on February 20, 2016 from 9:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the New Hope Church in Castle Rock.The event will feature inspiring worship and an abundance of suggestions, and small, but significant steps to become the courageous church we are called to be. Registration (including payment for a light breakfast) through the Presbytery website will be available by January 4, 2016.  As we begin a new year of service, we encourage you to invite your leaders to attend.

Stewardship Kaleidoscope
The Presbyterian Church’s premier event for stewardship education, will be held February 29- March 2, 2016 in San Antonio, TX. It offers outstanding plenary speakers and worship. This year the worship leader will be the Rev. Dr. Cynthia Campbell, pastor of Highland Presbyterian Church in Louisville, KY. and former President of McCormick Theological Seminary.  It also includes over 35 workshops covering topics such as annual stewardship, planned giving, current trends in stewardship and capital campaigns. For more information and to register for this event, click here. 
 
UPCOMING PRESBYTERY ASSEMBLIES
Our next Presbytery Assembly will be held on Tuesday, January 26, 2016 at Habitat for Humanity in Denver. We will be hosted by the members of the Carpenter’s Helpers Mission Partnership. The meeting will include the installation of our new moderator, the Rev. Dr. Stan Jewell, and the vice-moderator, Ruling Elder Dr. Jean Demmler.  

Our March Presbytery Assembly will be held one week later than our usual fourth Tuesday schedule. Since the fourth Tuesday falls within Holy Week, we will convene on Tuesday, March 29, 2016 at Columbine United Church.  

COMMUNION FOR MINISTERS
Next Two Ministers’ Communions. On Wednesday, March 9, 2016 we will gather at the Presbytery Center for a service of communion at 11:30 a.m. Pastor Tu Minh Bui of the Vietnamese Church, Amy Mendez, Cathy Ulrich and I will serve as your hosts.  Following the service of worship, we will re-assemble at a near-by restaurant which just may serve great Vietnamese fare!  I hope you plan to be present for this time together. A slightly longer trip for most of us is planned for a service of communion at the Southpark Community Church in Fairplay on June 9, 2016. We will be arranging transportation so that we can carpool to Fairplay and be hosted by Southpark’s pastor, Kenny Shaw.  More information will be coming about the time together, but put it on your calendar now and plan to journey together on June 9, 2016.  

The Presbytery Center will be closed from December 24, 2015 - January 3, 2016. It will reopen on Monday, January 4, 2016 at 8:30 a.m.

A Few Thoughts Before and For Christmas ….

“The God who once deigned to take on mortal flesh can, we should trust, still invade our present-day, fleshly, flashy, earthly Christmas in all its hoopla. There’s much to be said for Christian efforts to ‘put Christ back in Christmas.’ Congregations singing Christmas hymns and pastors preaching Christmas sermons do exactly that. But even as the faithful stubbornly keep Christ in Christmas, we do well to remember that Christ has long done a remarkably good job of keeping Christ in Christmas.”
Michael Lindvall, “Christ and Christmas” in The Presbyterian Outlook, December 7, 2015

“Christmas itself is by grace. It could never have survived our own blindness and depredations otherwise. It could never have happened otherwise. Perhaps it is the very wildness and strangeness of the grace that has led us to try to tame it. We have tried to make it habitable. We have roofed it in and furnished it. We have reduced it to an occasion we feel at home with, at best a touching and beautiful occasion, at worst a trite and cloying one. But if the Christmas even in itself is indeed – as a matter of cold, hard fact – all it’s cracked up to be, then even at best our efforts are misleading.”                          
Frederick Buechner, Beyond Words

“We have become so accustomed to the idea of divine love and of God’s coming at Christmas that we no longer feel the shiver of fear that God’s coming should arouse in us. We are indifferent to the message, taking only the pleasant and agreeable out of it and forgetting the serious aspect, that the God of the world draws near to the people of our little earth and lays claim to us.”
Dietrich Bonhoeffer, “The Coming of Jesus in Our Midst”
 
In Peace,
Tom

In the midst of....

Sadness and grief are present realities this week in San Bernardino, California.  We join together in prayer for the victims of the shootings there, their families and loved ones, the responders to the tragedy and the entire community.   Last week our prayers united for those killed and directly affected by the killings in Colorado Springs.  We pray for continued healing and a presence of hope.  Across the earth our prayers join with all those who long for life that is not ruled by violence.  Within our own hearts let us recommit ourselves to knowing the things that make for peace.  Within our churches let us work to create communities “with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”   Within our neighborhoods and communities, may we become people who live by the Spirit which offers “love, joy, peace….”  Within our world may we choose ways that lead to peace, dare to become peacemakers and wait hopefully and patiently for that day when we can say about the whole earth, “the land was very broad, quiet and peaceful.”  

In the month of December we celebrate the Twenty-fifth Ordination Anniversary of Neil Berry.  Neil was ordained on December 16, 1990.  We give thanks for his ministry and ask that we pray together … “now may the spirit which was in Jesus Christ be in us, enabling us to know God’s will and empowering us to do God’s will.  Amen.”  (A Guide to Prayer for Ministers and Other Servants)

All ministers, commissioned ruling elders, pastoral leaders, certified Christian educators, candidates and inquirers are invited to An Epiphany Luncheon on January 6, 2016. It will be held at the Holiday Inn Select. The cost is $25 per person. Send your RSVP with the check (made out to the Presbytery of Denver) by December 31, 2015.  Invitations were sent earlier in November and will be sent again with more details about the event.  You will not want to miss this great time of celebration together!
  

 "La Posada,” the final event in the year-long celebration of Hispanic/Latino heritage and gifts to our common life, will be held on December 12, 2015 at 5:30 p.m. at First Aurora Church.  La Posada is a traditional, interactive search for lodging, that Jesus may be born. The event, which is free, will be followed by a fiesta of hot chocolate, colorful piñatas and food!  For more information and to RSVP for the event, please click here.

A new Memorandum of Understanding between the Presbytery of Zimbabwe and the Presbytery of Denver now has been approved by both presbyteries. The final time of the celebration of the tenth anniversary of our partnership has culminated in a re-commitment to this transformative relationship.  The new Memorandum builds on the objectives of the earlier document but also seeks to move in new directions and even deeper relationships of understanding and common ministry. You will be receiving more about the new Memorandum this month and in January. I hope you will make this information available to your congregations and continue to explore ways that you and your congregation can share directly in the partnership. For example, you can still plan to go on a Short-term Service opportunity, working for a month with a minister in Zimbabwe Presbytery in 2016. Contact Stan Jewell for more details about this program for all ministers. Click here to read the Memorandum of Understanding.  

Our next Presbytery Assembly will be held on Tuesday, January 26, 2016 at Habitat for Humanity in Denver.  We will be hosted by the members of the Carpenter’s Helpers Mission Partnership.  The meeting will include the installation of our new moderator, the Rev. Dr. Stan Jewell, and the vice-moderator, Ruling Elder Dr. Jean Demmler.  

“Courage:  Acting Fearlessly in Fearful Times” is the powerful event, designed for all congregational leaders in the presbytery by the Leadership Work Group.  It will be held on February 20, 2016 from 9:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the New Hope Church in Castle Rock.  The event will feature inspiring worship and an abundance of suggestions and small but significant steps to become the courageous church we are called to be.  Registration (including payment for a light breakfast) through the Presbytery website will be available by January 4, 2016.  As we begin a new year of service, we encourage you to invite your leaders to attend.

Stewardship Kaleidoscope, the Presbyterian Church’s premier event for stewardship education, will be held February 29 - March 2, 2016 in San Antonio, Texas.  It offers outstanding plenary speakers and worship.  This year the worship leader will be the Rev. Dr. Cynthia Campbell, pastor of Highland Presbyterian Church in Louisville, KY. and former President of McCormick Theological Seminary.  It also includes over 35 workshops covering topics such as annual stewardship, planned giving, current trends in stewardship and capital campaigns.  For more information on how to register, click here.

Our March Presbytery Assembly will be held one week later than our usual fourth Tuesday schedule. Since the fourth Tuesday falls within Holy Week, we will convene on Tuesday, March 29, 2016 at Columbine United Church.

Partners in the Gospel

During November the weekly bulletin announcements from the Presbytery are highlighting the work of mission partnerships, covenant communities and task forces.  These are all significant signs of partnership in the Presbytery.   But the commitment to partnership in the Presbytery also can be seen in a variety of other ways.  This coming week-end leaders from across the Presbytery will gather for the Leadership Retreat.  It is made possible by generous grants from the Omaha Presbyterian Seminary Foundation and the Synod of the Rocky Mountains.  Participants pay only for their room and board; all programmatic costs are covered by these grants.  We also received word that the Omaha Presbyterian Seminary Foundation will continue partnering with us and is granting us $3000 for our 2016 November Leadership Retreat.  Further, all our leadership work is grounded in a dynamic partnership between our Presbytery and Highlands Presbyterian Camp and Conference Center.

A partnership between the Presbytery of Denver and the Synod of Mid America has resulted in a new video produced as part of the highly-praised and widely-used Theocademy series.  It will focus on both preparation courses and continuing education for Commissioned Ruling Elders and is scheduled to be released in January 2016.   Support for the video came from the Jackson-Miller Fund, dedicated to education in the Presbytery.

The Company of New Pastors has been a program of the Presbyterian Mission Agency that focuses on developing relationships and a “good start” in ministry for new graduates and ministers from Presbyterian seminaries.  Now, there are plans to extend this program into non-Presbyterian related seminaries.  With the cooperative work of the church’s Office of Theology, Worship and Education, Iliff School of Theology and the Presbytery of Denver, there are plans to offer it to Presbyterian students at Iliff and Denver Seminary.  It will be the second site beyond a Presbyterian seminary.  In addition and in another sign of partnership, two Denver Presbytery ministers serve as mentors for a Company of New Pastors group in another part of the country.

Four Denver Presbytery churches currently are engaged in the New Beginnings process.  The entire endeavor is a partnership that includes the Presbytery of Denver, the Presbyterian Church’s Office of Transformation, and the leaders, sessions and members of the participating congregations. All the churches, Arvada, Good Shepherd, Providence and St. Paul, are completing their small group phase and will be moving toward identifying critical decisions for their futures.  

New worshiping communities also point to a partnership of our three new worshiping communities, Community of One, Northwest Denver Missional Community, and Pree n’ Pree, the Presbytery of Denver and the Presbyterian Mission Agency.  All three new worshiping communities received initial grants of $7500 from both the Mission Agency and the Presbytery and the latter two received Investment Grants from the Mission Agency which were matched with support from the Presbytery of Denver. The Long Term Initiatives Work Group has also approved the Myanmar Christian Church’s application to the Presbyterian Mission Agency to be designated officially as a new worshiping community. 

The Presbyterian Investment and Loan Program (PILP) provides loans currently to nine churches in Denver Presbytery for building and property expansion, renovation or maintenance.  The moneys for these loans come from gifts and investments of Presbyterians across the denomination.  In each case the Presbytery guarantees the loan. 

Last week the Presbytery Council voted to use $2000 of the Presbytery’s portion of the Peacemaking and Global Witness Offering (which comes from the generosity of our congregations) for the work of the Colorado Council of Churches’ Soulful Sundays.  This program is a courageous and creative way to encourage inter-racial dialogue in our churches and communities.  The grant from the Presbytery will enable the CCC, our partner in ecumenical relations and work, hopefully to expand this program in Aurora.  If your church is interested in participating in this program, you can contact the Colorado Council of Churches for more information at 303-825-4910 or  adrian@cochurches.org.

Global partnerships also are part of our joint work.  The Council voted to use $1500 of the Presbytery’s portion of the Peacemaking and Global Witness Offering to support the work of Presbyterian Disaster Assistance with Syrian Refugees in Europe.  At the last Presbytery Assembly it was voted to approve a new Memorandum of Understanding with our partner Presbytery of Zimbabwe. Last week we received word that the Presbytery of Zimbabwe now also has approved and signed the new Memorandum.  

Of course, the daily intertwining of our common life, the interdependence of congregations, and the mutual work and support of ministers and leaders are integral to who we are as Presbyterians and as the Presbytery of Denver.  We give thanks for that partnership and for all the partnerships that enrich our ministries and mission as Christ’s people in the world today.

Something about Hope

Tom Sheffield, Presbytery Pastor

      Read Acts 19 again and you find conflict and confusion reigning supreme.  There is so much conflict and so many moments of confusion for the young church and its apostles that it is hard to keep track of it all. With such turbulence what will happen to this church?  And how should the leaders lead in such a time? But as the next chapter opens, this description of Paul’s work is provided: “Traveling through the country, passing from one gathering to another, he gave constant encouragement, lifting their spirits and charging them with fresh hope.” {Acts 20:2, The Message)

       It is another time of conflict and confusion and once again we are not sure what is happening in and to the church.  And we also are not always sure what to do or say or how to lead.  Everywhere in the church that is true, in congregation after congregation (did you think your church was the only one?), with minister after minister (really?  You thought you were the only one who didn’t know what to do?), in presbytery after presbytery (You see, we aren’t the only place!) and in meeting after meeting of the Presbyterian Church (I know, you thought they surely have the answers, but they don’t!).  So what do we do?  I think we do what Paul did.  I think we give encouragement to one another.  I think we try to lift spirits.  I think we charge one another with “fresh hope.”  Frankly, it is time to give up moaning.  It is time to set aside thinking and even acting like God has abandoned us.  It is time to look more deeply into our church and see how the Spirit is acting.  It is time to believe with all we are that God has given us a great mission and everything we need to do that mission.  It is time to claim hope again.  

        Your Presbytery Council has been talking, discussing and working on all of these issues, both the problems that we face and the hope that we are given.  In coming weeks and months you will hear more about their work which may impact ministry in the Presbytery with “fresh hope.” But the call to give constant encouragement, lift spirits and charge one another with fresh hope is something we each and all are called to do. How can you do that?  Let me suggest a few ways:

1.    Let’s look to each other as companion workers.  We are not here in this presbytery by accident.  We are here at this time to be in ministry with one another.  We can reach out to one another, remember one another, pray for one another, depend on each other, trust one another and truly take care of one another. 

2.    Stop complaining about the Presbyterian Church.  We all know there are problems in the PCUSA.  It is time to help not by criticizing but by affirming and loving the church.  It is time to start recognizing the good and right that are present in our church.   To do that let’s ask where God’s life is present in the whole church.  Tell churches and Sessions what we are finding. Celebrate the faithfulness, courage, and vision that are persistent in the church. Celebrate its traditions and celebrate its willingness to respond with new energy and creativity.  

3.    Make use of the instruments in our Presbytery that lead to mutual ministry.  See how your congregation can be part of a mission partnership or covenant community.  Discover what task forces are doing and how you might be part of their work.  Step forward and ask for other churches to join you in the possibility of shared mission or mutual ministry.  Participate in one another’s events.  Come to some of the events offered by the Presbytery.  See all the opportunities that are provided by the PCUSA.  Consider welcoming an emerging ministry or fellowship of the Presbytery into your building.  Review the Presbytery Vision statement and share it with congregations.  As it says, “We are going far.  Together we are going deeply, broadly, inclusively, and globally.”     We are a connectional church.  I think it may be time to act that way.  

4.    Let us believe with all our hearts that the congregations we serve or the congregations we attend are gifted by God for ministry.  

As I said, we will be sharing more ways to encourage “fresh hope,” but for now I invite us all to accept that invitation and become ruling elders, teaching elders, candidates and inquirers who encourage one another, servants who lift one another’s spirits and leaders who know how to offer the gift of hope.             


Our next Service of Communion will be held on September 23 at 11:30 a.m. at First Avenue Church.  Tim Mooney is our host pastor and also is providing music for our time of worship together.  Join together for this time of sacrament and fellowship.  Following the service of worship we will be moving to a near-by restaurant for lunch.  RSVP by Tuesday, September 22 to judy@denpres.org or by calling 303-777-2453.

During September we are celebrating several significant ordination anniversaries:

Larry Grimm    Ordained on September 14, 1975     Celebrating the Fortieth Anniversary of his Ordination

Marquita Melting    Ordained on September 20, 1980    Celebrating the Thirty-fifth Anniversary of her Ordination

John Anderson     Ordained on September 22, 1985    Celebrating the Thirtieth Anniversary of his Ordination

David Heil     Ordained on September 23, 1990    Celebrating the Twenty-fifth Anniversary of his Ordination

Robert LaFollette   Ordained on September 25, 1960   Celebrating the Fifty-fifth Anniversary of his Ordination

Lance Grothe   Ordained on September 28, 1980   Celebrating the Thirty-fifth Anniversary of his Ordination

                                
      We give thanks to God for these servants of Christ and Christ’s church.  May we all continue to pray the words of the ordination prayer: “Fill them with Holy Spirit, so they may have the same mind that was in Christ Jesus, and be faithful disciples always.”


In your prayers please remember James Fouther who had knee replacement surgery on August 31.  James asks for prayers also for the congregation he serves, the United Church of Montbello.

Celebrate the recent marriage of Kira Stringer and John Anderson.  Kira is the associate pastor at Wellshire Church;  John is pastor of Milliken Presbyterian Church, in Plains and Peaks Presbytery.  

Clarke and Pat Vestal ask us to pray for missionaries and other followers of Christ who live and serve in areas under attack of ISIS forces.  

May we also pray for the refugees making their way across Europe as they seek lives of peace and hope.  

For those whose lives have been destroyed along with homes and wilderness beauty and those who bravely fight fires in the West.               


Upcoming in our life as other opportunities for common ministry.  Please make note of them and plan to attend … the trip to Chapungu Sculpture Park on September 19 as part of our marking of the ten-year anniversary of our partnership with Zimbabwe Presbytery …  the September 29 book study of Zenzele which will be led by Russ Kane at Central Church at 7:00 p.m. …. the day-long workshop on human trafficking, sponsored by the Presbytery’s Mission and Ministry Work Group, on Saturday, October 3 at Wellshire Church from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. … the service of ordination for Greg Allen-Picket at Wellshire Church on Sunday, October 4 , at 2:00 p.m. …  the Time of Discernment for ministers and those considering ministry as a Commissioned Ruling Elder or Minister of Word and Sacrament on Saturday, October 24 at the Presbytery Center… the next Presbytery Assembly on Tuesday, October 27 at First Church, Englewood.  Among the highlights of this Assembly will be a pre-assembly event focusing on racial dialogue, led by the Racial Ethnic Diversity Work Group, the recognition both at dinner and in the meeting of Judy Franconi’s retirement and also a celebration of our partnership with Zimbabwe Presbytery.  Three delegates from Zimbabwe Presbytery will be present with us….the Leadership Retreat with Corey Schlosser-Hall on November 13 -14.  It will be a highlight you will not want to miss. For more information about many of these events go to www.denpres.org/events and to the Presbytery’s Facebook page.  

And looking further into the future, we are planning for a Ministers’ Epiphany Luncheon on January 6, 2016 at the Holiday Inn Select.  More details will be forthcoming but I hope you put this time to be together on your calendars now!  The cost of the luncheon will be between $20 and $25 for a full-course meal at the hotel. 

In Celebration and Hope

Tom Sheffield, Presbytery Pastor

There are many things to celebrate!

Nearly 50 people of all ages will be attending “Staycation” at Highlands. Tim Mooney will be leading very special intergenerational events based on his book, Like a Child, and there will be camp activities for everyone.
 
Presbytery of Zimbabwe Minister, The Rev. Garikai Mufanebadza, and his wife, Gladys, arrive next week for the beginning of their Long Leave.   You can welcome them when they arrive on August 5 at DIA at 3:35 p.m.  
 
At the Presbytery Assembly we will examine two people for ordination to the office of teaching elder. Betsy Reif Soto and Greg Allen-Pickett.
 
In the same Assembly we will recognize Holly Inglis as a minister member of Denver Presbytery as she also prepares for a new ministry in Jacksonville, Florida.  
 
“Salsa for the Soul” is another outstanding opportunity to celebrate Latino Faith and Heritage.  Sponsored by the Presbytery’s Gala Task Force, the event will feature Dr. Miguel De La Torre, Professor at Iliff School of Theology, who will be speaking on his newly released book, The Politics of Jesus.  There also will be an opportunity to learn how to make salsa and taquitos from some of the best Salseros and Taco makers in our Presbytery!  It all happens on Saturday, September 12 from 10:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at Shepherd of the Hills Church.  
 
Next week Encircling the World:  Prayers by Children of the Presbytery of Denver will be available to the Presbytery.  Written by children at the Denver Myanmar Christian Fellowship, the Vietnamese Presbyterian Fellowship, Korean Central and Peoples Churches, Iglesia Presbiteriana de Valverde and Iglesia Divino Salvador,  it was compiled by Amy Mendez and Young Adult Volunteer, Soohwi Jo.  
 
In the service of worship at the Presbytery Assembly we also will begin our celebration of the Tenth Anniversary of our partnership with the Presbytery of Zimbabwe.  In addition, on August 30 a picnic for “all who have  a heart for Zimbabwe” will be held at Shepherd of the Hills Church. Other events include a field trip to Chapungu Sculpture Park on September 19 and a book study on September 29 (get your copy now of Zenzele).   More events follow in October.  Watch for details and invitations to those events or visit here to learn more.   
 
WilderSoul Task Force is sponsoring its first event, “Untamed Mind of Christ” on August 14 -16 which is an introduction to nature-based wholeness for pastors and church leaders.  This intensive time is being held at Shadowcliff Mountain Lodge in Grand Lake.  
 
It is always good when we are together as ministers of the Presbytery. Our next Service of Communion for Ministers will be held on Wednesday, September 23 at 11:30 at First Avenue Church.  Actually, we will be gathering in the worship space of Community of One, our New Worshiping Community.  Call 303-777-2453 or email judy@denpres.org to reserve for this time and the lunch that follows in a nearby restaurant. What a great time of celebration it will be!
 
Four churches are part of the New Beginnings process.  Leaders from Arvada, Good Shepherd, Providence and St. Paul Churches will be part of a week-end training August 14 and 15.  
 
Two of our colleagues will mark ordination anniversaries this coming month.
 
Janet Schlenker    Ordained on August 3, 1975   Celebrating the Fortieth                                    Anniversary of her Ordination                                         
 
David Van Deren  Ordained on August 18, 1990    Celebrating the                                               Twenty-fifth Anniversary of his Ordination
                                  
                     We give thanks for them and for their ministries
                                   and celebrate all the good
                            that flows in and through our lives!

There are also many people and concerns for which to pray.

Violence erupts in Africa, across the Mid East and in our own country, too.  We pray for those devastated by losses in Lafayette, Louisiana, Chattanooga, Tennessee, and Charleston, South Carolina and places and countries far from us.  We ask for God to heal our brokenness, comfort our grief, restore us to wholeness and give us peace.
 
The jury begins to deliberate in the case of James Holmes, convicted of the Aurora Theater shootings.  We pray for the jury as it meets to decide his sentence.
 
In the last message to you I referred to a prayer request from Neil Berry. I was not clear as I shared his message.  Specifically, Neil requested “joyful prayers and praise for the Supreme Court and its decision regarding the Affordable Health Care Act, the Housing Act, and same-gender marriage.”                 
 
There are churches which are in transition of many kinds.  May God hold them tenderly and graciously.
 
Ministers, colleagues, friends and companions in Christ are struggling with illness in themselves and in their loved ones.  Others may be struggling in their ministries, wondering how and where they should serve.  Still others are feeling overwhelmed by the burdens they must carry in their work.  There are others who live with personal turmoil that does not find rest.  And there are all of us who need strength for the journey of living, loving, serving and ministering.  May God hold each, bring healing, offer grace, and give hope.  
 
There are hidden worries, unspoken pain and silent agony that have found no words, no voice, no hearing.  We lift prayers for all who cry out to God this day and always.

 

Wrapped in Prayer

Tom Sheffield, Presbytery Pastor

In Zimbabwe one is wrapped in prayer.  I returned from being with our partner, the Presbytery of Zimbabwe our sisters and brothers in Christ and once again I received the gift of their prayers, at every turn, in each home, in all their churches. It is a gift that also is yours.  You may not know them by name.  You may not be able even to pronounce the names of their churches.  You may never meet, face-to-face.  But they are praying for you.  Half a world away, people in churches of all kinds, are praying for “our partners in Denver.”  I hope you feel strengthened in that knowledge.  And I hope you pray for them. I also hope you continue to pray for one another and also hold in your hearts the following prayers which come from colleagues and congregations.
 
Celebrate as the Sandahl Family welcomes Caleb, born on July 4.  Dad, Cody, is pastor of First Church Littleton. 
 
Let hope and courage fill all  those who serve the Presbyterian Church (USA)  as they face daily challenges and work to claim a new vision.
 
Remember the families, friends and communities who continue to grieve following the massacres in Emanuel African American Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina.
 
Give thanks for our Mosaic Diversity Work Group who called us all to prayer immediately following the news of that tragedy.
 
Seek Christ’s gift of reconciliation for our nation, divided by race.
 
May God strengthen our national leaders in the courts, legislature and White House that what they do and decide may bring about the common good.   

Neil Berry asks us to pray particularly for the Supreme Court of the United States following its decision regarding the right of same-gender marriage.
 
Fred Wollerman began treatment for cancer this week.  Pray for Fred’s healing and patient endurance and continued trust in God.
 
The churches of our presbytery who are in the New Beginnings process are entering a new phase and ask our prayers for their time of leadership training and small group discussions.
 
Christians are struggling, persecuted and risking their lives for the Gospel in countries across the earth.  Pray for our sisters and brothers who are seeking to be faithful wherever they are.
 
 
                                                                  Other Requests and Reminders
 
The deadline for Staycation, our very special opportunity for all the Presbytery family to learn and simply enjoy the wonders of Highlands prior to and during the Presbytery Assembly, is July 23.  Go to www.highlandscamp.org to register today!
 
A Request from Laura Sugg, Pastor of Wheat Ridge Church:  Can you recommend a good sound engineering company (who would come to Wheat Ridge)?  In the next couple years, we will need to update our sound system/microphones in the sanctuary and perhaps in Fellowship Hall.  I'd like to know of reputable companies that work well with churches and produce good products to ask for a free evaluation and quote.  Any help would be appreciated!  Please reply to me at LauraSugg@comcast.net.
 

 

Celebrating the Church

Tom Sheffield, Presbytery Pastor

Have you noticed?  Most often, celebrations come at the end of a month or, at least, they come with a month far along in its days:  Thanksgiving in November, Christmas in December, Presidents’ Day in February.  But not in July.  In this month we begin celebrating within the first few days and we celebrate the Fourth of July with  flags flying and bands playing and parading and fireworks exploding in the night sky and great foods grilled to perfection..  

Maybe I am the only one, but I have noticed a lack of celebration in the church.  Concerns and worries and gloomy predictions dominate more than anything else.  I certainly would not say those things are not true. But they are not the only things.  There are moments of grace that penetrate the deepest gloom.  There are gifts of love that are offered. There are people of faith and courage who give sacrificially and hopefully.  There are these and more that can be celebrated now.   Therefore, if you will allow me, I ask you to let the coming of July’s celebration of our nation encourage our celebrating the church, too.  Let it allow you to see and hear and hold to those moments, rejoice in those gifts and give thanks for those people who are the church with us.  There will be other times for worrying.  Let this time be one of joy for all we are given, for all we are, and for all we yet will become, through God’s constant, astounding, mysterious, abundant love for us all.       


More Celebrating … Ordination Anniversaries in July 

We celebrate with two colleagues who mark their fiftieth anniversary ordination anniversaries this month.    We rejoice in these significant moments in their ministries.


Bud Everitt     Ordained on July 7, 1965


Larry Angus    Ordained on July 26, 1965

May they know our prayers of gratitude for their service.  And may we together seek to serve with renewed strength, courageous vision and deep faith in the Living Christ. Amen.