Spiritual Care & Development

Growth Group Opportunities

The Discipleship team is excited for our upcoming Fall season of Growth Groups! Our groups will run for 8 weeks, starting the week of September 24. We have a wide variety of

Growth groups this season, including:

  • Sermon series discussions
  • “Green” Issues and Faith
  • “Journey 101” Bible Study
  • Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work
  • ...and more!

Look for more information and sign-ups during the Growth Group fair, September 10 and 17 between services. Or, talk with Pastor Kate, ksweet@peoplesumc.org.

First Monday

First Monday starts up again September 11th! First Monday is our monthly gathering of folks aged 50-plus. We meet on the first Monday of each month (or the 2nd Monday if a holiday happens to fall on the first Monday) to share a potluck lunch, experience engaging programs, and connect with friends old and new. We learn, encourage, serve, and pray for one another through this vibrant ministry of the church.

There are many opportunities both to serve and be served at First Monday. For example, if you have space in your vehicle, you could help provide rides to the program for those who have difficulty driving. Or, perhaps you need encouragement—the person sitting right next to you during lunch might have wisdom to share from their own life. This year we will also be raising funds by donation for the Oregon Area Community Food Pantry. We all have something to offer and to receive.

If you’ve never made it out to First Monday before, we hope you’ll come and see what it’s all about. Here are some of the upcoming programs you can expect this Fall:

· September 11: Reflections from the AIDS Ride, with Susan and Walker Shedivy

· October 2: What’s All This about “Spiritual but Not Religious?”, with Pastor Kate Sweet

· November 6: Whale Watching with Susie and Dwayne Berg, (featuring a catered Thanksgiving Turkey dinner)

We gather in the Great Room at People’s Church at 11:00 am for the potluck lunch, followed by the program at noon. Bring a dish to pass, grab a friend or two, we’d love to see you there!

A Reflection from Pastor Kate

I love September. Fall is my favorite season. When I was a kid, I loved the start of school, the promise of crispy leaves and fresh notebooks and new crayons. But then by May, I would be itching again for the freedom of summer, the long, open days ahead. There is a certain energy that comes with the changing of the seasons, comfort and familiarity that comes from the rhythms of life.

But there are some seasons that aren’t so comforting and familiar--when chaos seems to rule, when disruption threatens our assumption of how the world works. As I reflect back on the summer that has been, it seems that in our nation and world we have been in an especially unsettling time. This reminds me of this passage from the book of Ecclesiastes:

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:

a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to throw away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; a time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to throw away; a time to tear, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; a time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace.

This list covers such a wide variety of seasons. Are these things prescriptive or descriptive? Meaning, is this a list telling us what to do or is it a list simply describing how things are? I think it might be a little of both. For example, choosing a time to plant and a time to pluck up is within our control. But, a time to be born and a time to die—not usually in our control.

It's the last two lines that get me--"a time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace." While we might read this at first as prescriptive—like these verses are somehow condoning hate and war as much as love and peace—I think that it makes more sense to read this part as descriptive. Our human experience (at least so far in history) has included periods of hate and war, as much as, or more so, than times of love and peace.

I need to remind myself of the seasonality of life when faced with the news lately. This is a different kind of seasonality than the one of changing from summer break to the start of school.

This is a season of disruption—and I am reminded that we are not the first people to go through turmoil, violence, and division. This reminder is not meant to imply that things will just get better so we can sit back and relax. No, rather it leads me to remember the stories of people who have stood up tall in uncertain times, who have found outlets for their passion and care. It leads me to remember and affirm that Jesus Christ is Emmanuel, God-with-us. Christ is with us, giving us strength to withstand the challenges; giving us wisdom and guidance as people of faith; giving us one another for mutual love and support.

In closing, I would like to offer this Psalm for reflection, which has been very comforting to me these days.

Psalm 46

1 God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. 2 Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change, though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea; 3 though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble with its tumult. Selah

4 There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy habitation of the Most High. 5 God is in the midst of the city; it shall not be moved; God will help it when the morning dawns. 6 The nations are in an uproar, the kingdoms totter; he utters his voice, the earth melts. 7 The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah

8 Come, behold the works of the LORD; see what desolations he has brought on the earth. 9 He makes wars cease to the end of the earth; he breaks the bow, and shatters the spear; he burns the shields with fire. 10 “Be still, and know that I am God! I am exalted among the nations, I am exalted in the earth.” 11 The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge.

May you find hope, strength, and guidance from the One who is our Refuge.

Grace and Peace,

Kate Sweet, Pastor of Spiritual Care & Development

Sue Koch